BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Thanks to the efforts of the Walls Project, the arts district of Baton Rouge will celebrate the completion of a new public mural with a free celebration on Thursday.
“We don’t do it fancy, we do it fun,” Casey Phillips, co-founder of the BR Walls Project, said. “It’s going to be a dirty, parking lot-style community party. We’re throwing some barbeque pits out there, we’re going to have some bands playing. It’s all-ages and it’s all free.”
The new Blues inspired mural, located on the side of Cash America Pawn on Government Street, is the first of its kind in Mid City. It was completed by notable local artist Charles Barbier.
“The Better Block Initiative really helped kick it all off,” Phillips said when asked how the Mid City project began. “We started going to the meetings at the end of 2012. We wanted everyone to know that we were in no way, shape, or form limited to downtown.”
All of the Walls Projects completed thus far have been centralized to the downtown area, but Phillips said the organization always hoped to expand.
“We play it close to the vest until things materialize,” he said. “From the beginning, downtown was targeted because it isn’t a highly residential area and because they were a willing partner.”
Phillips hopes to bring more public murals to several other historic areas of Baton Rouge.
“We’re only going to the neighborhoods that want us there,” he explained. “Whether it’s in Scotlandville, East Melrose, any place where there are historic neighborhoods, we want the community leaders to invite us in.”
It seems only natural that Mid City would be the first neighborhood to present an invitation.
“The Mid City movement to become the arts district is one that’s been in motion for 15 years now,” Phillips noted. “Different agencies are now concentrating on Mid City as being the lifeline of the city. I look at what we’re doing as one piece of a much bigger puzzle. I think it’s awesome that the city is now embracing the public art side of it.”
The all-ages celebration will take place on Thursday, June 13 in the parking lot on the corner of Government Street and South Acadian. It will begin at 5:00 p.m. and continue until 7:00.
Phillips also teased that the next mural project will be announced in the near future. He said that although it will be located downtown, it’s going to be very different and on a much larger scale than the six murals the group has completed thus far.