New mural celebrates long-time tradition at barber shop
BATON ROUGE - A business in Mid City is getting a face-lift, literally. The faces of O'Neil's Barber Shop are being spray painted on the outside walls. It's to celebrate what's going on in the inside.
Since 2016, the barbers have been cutting kids hair for free, as long as the child reads one book out loud while doing so. The program is called ‘Line 4 Line.’
“It’s like a teacher, but it’s the cool guys that are teaching these kids that reading is cool and that’s the beauty of the program,” said Lucy Perera, with 'Line 4 Line.' “We have a lot of repeat kids, and they've been doing it for three years, so their reading is now high.”
It's a program people may only know about if they walk in. But now, it'll be obvious. Two artists flew in from Chicago to paint murals outside the shop.
“The first one is a densely-composed, highly-colored saturated piece. The next one is a little more minimal, but it’s all in the detail of the elements. The third is a print-style graphic,” said artist Rahmaan Statik.
On one wall, there are pictures of public figures, like Barack Obama. Two other walls show the barbers cutting little kids hair while they're reading; exactly like what happens inside.
“You want to see kids trying, want to see them wanting to learn,” said barber Keith Davis.
“It makes the kids have bigger dreams; bigger than they are themselves,” added volunteer Travis Dabney, who often provides food for the program.
Spray painted in bright colors, the artist hopes his work will inspire the community.
“Inspiration to be the person they were meant to be,” said Statik.
Those with ‘Line 4 Line’ hope it will inspire more youth to read.
“Find out what we have going on and hopefully get them involved in our reading program. Take our program further into the future,” said Davis.
The mural will be completed Monday night. The artists have been working 12-hour days since Friday to get the pieces done.