A 10-story harmonica isn’t a typical sight during a commute to work, but Baton Rouge will be unveiling a gargantuan blues-themed mural Wednesday, courtesy of the BR Walls Project.
The BR Walls Project is a non-profit organization with a goal to beautify Baton Rouge while also bringing more business to the city. As the group’s mission statement reads: “commerce creates art creates commerce.”
BR Walls Project has produced numerous murals around the area, such as one of renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on Blend wine bar’s downtown building. Other projects include “Baton Rouge Blues” on the corner of Government Street and South Acadian Thruway, which includes blues greats such as Slim Harpo and Jackie Neal.
This time, BR Walls Project has teamed up with University students to create its latest endeavor: “Harmonizing the Arts.”
Mass communication senior Courtney Ray is in a capstone public relations class in which students gain real-world experience by working closely with local non-profit organizations. Ray explained part of the course curriculum is to organize an event for the non-profit, thus “Harmonizing the Arts” began.
“In the beginning of the semester, our professor organized three clients for our class, and they came to our class and presented a pitch basically saying this is what we would need from a public relations agency,” Ray said. “For some reason BR Walls stood out to me. It was something visually attractive, creative and fun, and it really offers a lot of opportunities to Baton Rouge.“
Ray said “Harmonizing the Arts” is centered around BRWP’s newest and largest mural, “Blues Harp” by Robert Dafford.
Dafford is a Lafayette-raised artist who is especially proactive about revitalizing and merging the Baton Rouge art and music scenes, according to Ray.
“For the past 40 years, he has done over 400 murals across the world,” Ray said. “He’s recently wanted to bring the music scene and art scene to Baton Rouge. And he’s extremely devoted to reviving the blues scene in Baton Rouge.”
The mural will be unveiled around noon Wednesday with the “Harmonizing the Arts” event following that evening.
Ray said the event will consist of live music by local blues musician and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Acosta.
There will also be live painting and a variety of items up for auction. She said some of the items include massage packages, a New Orleans Saints football signed by Drew Brees, photography, paintings, gift baskets from local businesses and a skirt from local designer Ella Rose.
“Our generation is all about wanting to help the community and make a better impact,” Ray said. “I just think it adds a lot of opportunity and it really brings awareness to an organization that is fun, artistic and allows a lot of opportunities for local artists to get involved.”
“Harmonizing the Arts” begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the atrium of the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel. The event is open to the public.