Since 2011, Casey Phillips and his team in the grassroots Walls Project (formerly BR Walls) have installed 10 murals in Baton Rouge’s urban core, and another in Brittany, France, last month. Phillips, a music industry entrepreneur who returned to the Capital City to be close to his son, founded the Walls Project to advance local public art. “It came out of necessity,” Phillips says. “When you see that something isn’t there, you either go find it somewhere else or you create it.”
That meant recruiting like-minded building owners, entrepreneurs, investors, artists and volunteers for the purpose of revealing the city’s identity through accessible, large-scale art. “The Walls Project is just an extension of what everyone really wants to see happen in Baton Rouge,” Phillips says. “We just give it a physical manifestation.”
Phillips wants the Walls Project to secure its future with an assertive, entrepreneurial operating style. The nonprofit plans to raise $1.5 million by 2015, enabling it to hire artists to produce public art in Baton Rouge and elsewhere.
“The reason why the Walls Project has been so amazing is because of all these people out there who want to transform the community.”
Mentors: Louis DeAngelo Jr., Maxine Crump, Grady Phillips and Ann Connelly Age: 38 Hometown: Baton Rouge Education: Bachelor’s, Loyola University.
Who is your mentor or inspiration for your business/professional life?
Louis DeAngelo Jr. for Business Strategy & Personal Growth: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should…and the empowering use of the ‘Pause’ button.
Maxine Crump for Social Justice: You don’t need the majority to enact change where we live.
Ann Connelly for the Art Industry: Beyond the lines of creativity the art world is an intense, and high stakes business. Play to your strengths, work hard, & deliver every time.
Grady Phillips for Entrepreneurial Development: Some lead by words, others by action. Hard work, and relentless dedication are keys to running your own business.
What is the most important thing you learned?
As an entrepreneur for the past 15+ years I’ve used the arts as a vehicle to bring happiness to people’s lives primarily through live music promotion. Since moving back to Baton Rouge in 2011 I’m seeing the potential of learning how to work with hundreds of like-minded people all at once to steer this same vehicle but across multiple disciplines of the arts. I let the acronyms & politicians play the complicated 1% power game, and focus our group’s energies at the grassroots level. By partnering with other art & social justice organizations The Walls Project has been able to help the creative community express themselves on a large-scale level.
The goal is to move the cultural and social needle forward in a significant manner…and it’s working.
I believe that as citizens if we truly start caring about the well-being of one another as much as our own Baton Rouge can become one of the great cities in this world. We have a long way to go because currently the economic benefit of the few far outweigh the needs of the many of this community. An age-old story that we believe will soon have a new ending.
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