The Walls Project wants to always seek opportunities to push boundaries and break down those traditional barriers that prevent new experiences. That’s why our mural arts program has started testing the limits of what is possible with paint by integrating a little technology.
“We have a lot of young families and young professionals with children in the capital region that we are in danger of losing to other states because of the lack of amenities that are provided free and public at all times,” explains Morgan Udoh, program coordinator. “So I wanted to create something that would augment the services that are already at our BREC parks, which are amazing, by providing people a way to interact with our art.”
The East Baton Rouge Parish Park System, BREC, celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the organization commissioned five murals at different parks located throughout the parish. Walls was honored BREC would not only celebrate this important milestone through its artists but also explore a new and state-of-the-art integration.
“At each park, the mural was inspired by another park in the system,” Udoh notes. “It creates a cool scavenger hunt throughout the BREC park system.”
Artist in Residence Ashli Ognelodh created the colorful designs, which are located at the Zachary Community Park, Jackson Community Park, Central Baker Recreation Center, and Gus Young Park.
“Being the Walls and as innovative as we are, we wanted to add a little bit more than just something you would take a picture of once and then move on,” Udoh continues. “So we decided to add a touch component to the walls with leads installed onto the mural where you can touch the wall at four or five different points and the electricity that's conducted through your body.”
The system utilizes a Raspberry Pi board, which is a low-cost, credit card-sized computer that is capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do. In this case, it plays sounds.
“There are conductive wires that lead from different places on the mural. When you touch it, it’s programmed to play out a sound on the speaker,” Udoh said. “The system itself is solar powered.”
Expect to see even more innovation in the new year as the team continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible.