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Walls Pre-Apprenticeship funneling EBR Parish Students into the Creative Industry

Updated: Apr 4

In a bustling collaboration between Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) undergraduate artist Jessica Wilson and lead artist Morgan Udoh from the Walls Project Public Art Program, a new chapter in Louisiana's creative workforce development is developing. Their small endeavor, a modern mural adorning the parking lot of the newly redesigned EBRPL Outreach Center, is one of many recent projects that bring aesthetic rejuvenation but also pilot pre-apprenticeship in community engagement.

For Jessica Wilson, this project marks a significant milestone in her artistic journey. BRCC undergraduate artist Jessica Wilson has teamed up with lead artist and Walls Project Public Art Program Coordinator, Morgan Udoh, to create a modern mural that promises to breathe new life into our newly redesigned EBRPL Outreach Center parking lot. Jessica’s second mural of the pre-apprenticeship pilot, this collaboration is her opportunity to “inspire, provoke emotions in others, and make a meaningful impact on the world.” Collaborating with professionals like Morgan Udoh amplifies her learning experience and expands her artistic horizons. Morgan Udoh, herself, is actively mentored by other Louisiana artists with 20-40 years of experience in Public Art, thus the cycle of education and leadership in culture bearing continues. 

Student Artist, Jessica Wilson, is currently working on the EBRPL Outreach Center mural with Senior Program Coordinator, Morgan Udoh following a redesign of the center’s parking lot that included a large blind primed for public art.

The pre-apprenticeship workforce pilot extends beyond individual artists like Wilson. It encompasses the Walls Project after-school programming, Culture Club, involving students from Scotlandville Magnet High School and Capitol High School in transformative creative initiatives as well as targeted infusion of HS design competitions, that included Southern University Lab School students Lola Saunders and Dashayla Snerling, the winning designers for a recent bus stop mural in North Baton Rouge.

Progress picture of the scenic hwy bus stop mural as proposed by SU LAB students and installed by artist guild member, Kristafer Bradley.

At Scotlandville Magnet High School, students are designing, producing, and installing temporary modular seating, lighting improvements, and sculptures, alongside undertaking mural restorations in Scotlandville Plaza. These efforts are in preparation for Scotland Saturday's Levitt Amped Concert Series, where the vibrant blend of artistry and functionality will enhance community spaces. 

Scotlandville Magnet High  School students starting Phase 1 of the placemaking design project for Scotlandville Plaza

Meanwhile, Capitol High School students are immersing themselves in digital archiving, sculpture restoration, and placemaking within their campus and the Eden Park/Easytown neighborhoods with the support of art guild members who are experts in Digital Media and Drone Photography. By engaging in these activities, they contribute to preserving cultural heritage, combating blight, and fostering economic revitalization through artistic interventions.

Morgan Udoh, reflecting on the overarching goal of the pre-apprenticeship program, emphasizes,

“Pre-apprenticing the next generation in the creative redesign, blight remediation, and public art restoration has been the goal of the art program since the beginning of my leadership. If we want to bolster community engagement and prepare communities, we must provide targeted pathways for our next generation of culture bearers to practice stewardship in their spaces. What better way to sustainably maintain cultural competency during urban development while infusing economic vitality through the arts?"

The impact of Louisiana's apprenticeship initiatives extends far beyond individual projects. They lay the foundation for sustainable cultural preservation, community engagement, and economic growth. Through hands-on experiences and mentorship, aspiring artists like Jessica Wilson and high school students across Baton Rouge are honing their crafts and contributing to the vibrant tapestry of Louisiana's creative landscape.

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