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First of downtown mural series completed Walls Project aims to brighten BR By Danielle Kelley Published: Monday, June 25, 2012 [...]
First of downtown mural series completed
Walls Project aims to brighten BR
By Danielle Kelley
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Downtown Baton Rouge is getting a facelift, and phase one is complete.
The BR Walls Project is orchestrating the painting of multiple murals downtown. The finishing strokes were painted Monday on the first project, located at the corner of Florida and Third Street.
The mural, painted by Saliha Staib and Clark Derbes, is titled “Cinq Umbre” and consists of multi-colored quadrangles.
“I think with the design, we were trying to make something elegant, but fun,” University alumnus Derbes said.
People of all demographics stopped to view the progress on the mural last week, the paint-caked Derbes said. The accessibility of the artwork will make all aware of Baton Rouge’s culture, he noted.
Staib said she hopes the mural will bring city-wide attention to local artists.
“It will bring art for the public eye,” she said in her French accent. “I just want to encourage art in the city.”
The project is part of the recent downtown revival by the Downtown Development District, and co-curator Kathryn Thorpe said its purpose is to aesthetically improve Baton Rouge.
“Our intention is to bring more art and culture into Baton Rouge. We’ve lived here for about a year,” Thorpe said. “There’s a ton of artists… but you just can’t tell when you’re visiting Baton Rouge.”
Building owner Daniel McGlynn said more murals will bring Baton Rouge’s downtown up to par with other cities’.
“It’d just be a brighter, happier place,” he said. “I hope they continue to do this mid-city and elsewhere.”
McGlynn noticed members of BR Walls Project eyeing his building months ago, and donated the wall-space after the individuals explained the idea.
“It was large, visible and easy,” he said, regarding the wall.
McGlynn noted the murals will add “a little fun, a little color, a little energy” to the downtown environment. Co-curator Casey Phillips said he has intentions of doing so.
“We believe that art can help connect our entire city together and expose a unified identity to express the soul of one of the great cities of the South,” Phillips said in an e-mail.
BR Walls Project plans to paint other walls downtown after the summer heat fades. The next one will be at either Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s, the Mentorship Academy or Harrington’s Cafe, according to Phillips.
The artists were chosen by the project’s board, which consists of a jury of more than 50 museum and gallery directors, building owners and local artists.
BR Walls Project is made possible by Baton Rouge residents’ donations through a Kickstarter campaign and sponsorships from local companies.
BY CHAD CALDER
Advocate business writer
June 21, 2012
The owners of Circa 1857 are looking to add 30 loft apartments, retail and community arts space to the existing arts and antiques market on Government Street across from Park Boulevard.
The project is the second half of Circa owners Danny McGlynn and Dennis Hargroder’s Mid-City Redevelopment Project. The first half is the planned renovation of the Darensbourg building across from Westmoreland Shopping Center and improving the streetscape of the block just east of Baton Rouge Magnet High School.
Circa’s effort got a lift from the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday, when an RDA subcommittee officially recommended the agency allocate $8.1 million in new markets tax credits to the $11.1 million project.
The RDA’s full board will consider the request at its meeting next month. If it grants it, the Mid-City Redevelopment Project will get the proceeds from the eventual sale of $8.1 million in credits.
That amount will be less than $8.1 million, and the rest will likely come from $1 million in community development block grant funds through the state and one of two unnamed community development entities that Circa and the RDA are in discussions with, RDA Vice President Mark Goodson said.
“We feel very confident we’ll be able to get that,” Goodson told the RDA subcommittee’s advisory board.
McGlynn told the group that the point of the project at Circa 1857 is to continue to stimulate the arts, culture and retail development by providing apartments for “starving artist” types who could use smaller spaces — 500 square feet to 1,200 square feet — to live and work.
He said just over half of the apartments would be restricted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of low income, and that it would be modeled after recent arts-related redevelopment projects in New Orleans.
To read the entire article, go to: http://theadvocate.com/news/business/3142659-123/panel-backs-art-market-project#.T-M7M_XR2HM.email
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