The Shreveport Sun - Shreveport’s New “Public Art”; to be The First of Many
Shreveport gained a new mural this week, but many people in Shreveport also gained an enriching experience by participating in its creation. Local artists, children, and even many community leaders contributed to the painting of this mural.
“Public Art allows people to take ownership in their community. When they feel like they’ve added or contributed to their community in a certain way, it makes them more proud of it. That’s why we take this approach,” artist and organizer KaDavien Baylor explained.
Baylor worked with SCORE (Setting Children on the Road to Excellence) Founder and CEO, Larry Wilson to organize this week-long event. He was joined by a team of local artists including Eric Francis, Whitney Tates, Jessie Sebren, Ben Moss, and Dominique McLemore. The artists worked with children from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club who were provided transportation to the mural and lunch after a day of painting.
Other community leaders joined in the fun including School Board member Dottie Bell, Caddo Commissioners Lynn Cawthorne and Stormy Gage Watts, and City Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor.
This substantial work, which represents enriching and imparting knowledge into the next generation, according to Baylor, was completed Sunday at the corner of Marshall and Creswell. Baylor says this is the first of many Public Art installations with the help of youth throughout Shreveport.
“We’re going to work with creative youth, especially youth who are suffering from the results of Covid. Covid has really taken away a lot of kids’ creative outlets, a lot of their extracurricular activities, and they just need stuff to do. This seemed like the perfect route to take,” Baylor said.
“We have a series of schools that we’re about to do projects with, I’m really excited about it,” Baylor says Linwood Public Charter School’s blacktop basketball court is the site of the next public art project, “Pretty much, we want to kick this off all through urban and underserved communities in Shreveport.”
Baylor is a self-taught artist who participated in many art programs growing up, specifically with talented arts programs offered through Caddo Parish Public Schools. He earned a BFA in Liberal Arts from Louisiana Tech University after graduating from Southwood High School. He has worked on Public Art installations in the Houston area and decided to bring the idea back to Shreveport.
“I just had the urge, so I wrote a post on Facebook saying, ‘Shreveport, I need somebody to give me a wall,” Baylor explained of how his first site was selected, “And Ryan said, ‘I’ve got one for you.’ It was just that simple.”
Ryan Williams, Owner and CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management recently renovated and moved his business into the building at 1533 Marshall Street, which has become home to this mural. Williams has worked with Baylor in the past on creating art within the office building.
“I guess it was from our previous history of doing projects together but I feel like all of that happened for a reason,” Baylor said. Williams expressed his own excitement over the mural, bringing his son to paint and inviting the employees within the building to take part in the experience as well.
Baylor says SCORE has been a contributor not only to Public Painting experiences for children, but has held coat drives and toy drives, helping many children throughout Shreveport. He says he plans to continue to work with the organization to provide new experiences to children in Shreveport.
For information on volunteering with or donating to the Public Art Campaign, visit SCOREyouth.com.