POSTED: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 5:45pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 2:17pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Everyone loves to make a good first impression. One new, local organization hopes to make Baton Rouge a place where people immediately get the impression of a thriving arts community when crossing over the bridge into downtown.
“We were driving home from an event at the Manship one night and we thought about how much potential downtown has, but that right now it’s really drab,” Casey Phillips, one of the organizers of BR Walls Project, said. “We just thought about how much we would love to have murals on all these walls and hopefully bring a resurgence in art that isn’t public around Baton Rouge right now.”
Phillips is a Baton Rouge-native, who like many, moved away to work in the entertainment industry. Again, like many, he returned to the Capital City with Kathryn Thorpe, who is his partner in the BR Walls Project .
“We met in Los Angeles,” Thorpe recalls. “After a few years of going back and forth between LA and here, we moved here.”
Now the duo hopes to continue the push for arts and culture in Baton Rouge through the Walls Project.
“The project will be completed in two phases. In Phase One, artists will transform the existing beige and grey walls of downtown into modern works of art. The first murals will be painted in the Arts District along Fourth Street then spread throughout the rest of downtown.”
Along with creating works of art for public enjoyment, the Walls Project is raising funds so the artists are getting paid to complete the work
“Too many times artists are asked to do these massive projects and they’re only offered exposure, not payment,” Thorpe explained. “We’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen with this project.”
The process of raising funds began by creating an account on Kickstarter.com . The Baton Rouge Gallery partnered with the group and the fundraising campaign as a way of offering a tax break to those who make substantial donations.
“Since the idea to do this project only formulated about six months ago, we didn’t have enough time to become a true non-profit,” Thorpe noted. “We needed a fiscal agent, and that’s where the Baton Rouge Gallery stepped in to help.”
Artists interested in gaining not only exposure, but a little cash as well, should submit their work online beginning this Friday, March 30.
“We’ll leave that up for about 30 days,” Thorpe said. “Then we’re going to go through a jury process to select the artists.”
Once the artists are selected work will begin on the first murals in downtown Baton Rouge. But that’s not all.
Phase Two for the BR Walls Project will take on a less permanent, but interesting component. They will launch a mobile art installation component that will be completed through a partnership with Lamar Advertising. They will print artwork on large, vinyl banners that fasten to buildings creating an outdoor gallery setting.
“We believe that this collaborative community project will enhance the artistic beauty of the large wall spaces throughout downtown, expand the visual arts scene of the city and is another step to brining people together in Baton Rouge.”