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Murals brighten side of buildings in Mid City

10 months 2 weeks 6 days ago January 18, 2016 Jan 18, 2016 Monday, January 18 2016 January 18, 2016 6:40 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE -  Parts of the Mid City area received more than just a fresh coat of paint Monday. 

It was a day of service with volunteers sprucing things up and painting murals. With hundreds of volunteers, it took just one day to produce five murals along Main Street. The project is also part of the mayor's neighborhood revitalization initiative.

Shannon Byrdsell is a student at LSU. She was just one of many people that spent Martin Luther King Day painting murals to help revitalize the area.

"I'm from Atlanta and that's where Dr. King is from, so every year in Atlanta we do a service project," said Shannon Byrdsell.  "When I came to college, I made it a priority to make sure that I do something every year on Martin Luther King day."

Hundreds of volunteers spent the day cleaning and painting colorful murals along Main Street in hopes of revamping some of the vacant properties that have been sitting stagnant.

"This is the first time we've opened it up [to] just anybody as an artist who wanted to submit a design.  We just worked with the artists who were picked by the building owners," said Director of The Walls Project Casey Phillips.

Marc Fresh is one of those artists that designed a vibrant mural for one local community radio building along the street. He called it "Unlock your mind"

"For this piece, I wanted to just touch on innocence of kids and how you... develop negativity as you get older and learn about the world," Fresh said as he described the mural featuring a woman unlocking her mind and allowing positivity to pour out. He said it's why he used bright colors.

The positivity is an aspect Byrdsell knows all about, and believes it shows a greater appreciation of those who came before her.

"My parents are older and my godparents are older, so they lived through the civil rights movement, and they told me about things that happened to them a long time ago," Byrdsell said. "I didn't have to experience that or go through that but it's important to remember where you come from and just  appreciate all of those who come before you who didn't have the chance to do the things that you can do right now."

Main street was chosen as the area for the project Monday after discussions with the mayor and the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance. The service day included a collaboration of more than 50 organizations.

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