Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Baton Rouge uses murals to put teens to work

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BATON ROUGE - Those giant murals in Old South Baton Rouge are spreading, except now it's local teens bringing you the art with the help of a pro graffiti writer.

"It actually surprises people when they come and look at it," said Mia Darville, "because a lot of kids around here really don't do much."

Darville is taking part in the city's Love Our Community Summer Youth Employment Program. For four weeks, she and 88 other teens are getting paid to plant gardens on vacant lots and paint murals with the help of Dr. Kevin Harris' Museum of Public Art.

Seeing historic buildings like the Lincoln Theatre fall into blight helped inspire Dr. Harris to start his public art movement.

"It served as a focal point for many in the African-American community back in the 50s and 60s, and bringing that piece of history to life by having young people do it is a great part of the story," said Kia Bickham, Chief Service Officer for the mayor's office.

The hope is to draw more interest in revitalizing the derelict theatre, but at the very least the summer program has allowed kids to give back.

The summer program will finish painting one of the Lincoln Theatre's walls by August 9.


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