Gayosa Park gets Walls Project makeover

blank canvas

Somehow between laughter, conversation and paint fights in Gayosa Park near midcity Saturday morning, a new, colorful, revitalized park took shape.

The Walls Project, in conjunction with BREC, recruited more than 100 volunteers for Saturday’s fourth community paint day beautification project that painted over a mural originally painted in 1993 and transformed a separate wall that was once all green to a vibrant mix of colors.

Angela Harms, assistant director of planning for BREC, said BREC contacted Casey Phillips, The Walls Project executive director, a few months ago to help with the renovations to the park, which had become run down over time and was in need of renovation.

She said The Walls Project’s assistance in beautifying the park will draw people to the park, which will soon undergo further structural renovations.

Phillips said he was happy with the large number of volunteers and members of The Walls Project who pitched in to help transform the park. He said most of the volunteers helping with the paintings had never before visited the part of town he called “Easy Town.”

Projects like the beautification of Gayosa Park bring socially progressive folks of all backgrounds together for a common goal, Phillips said. He said such projects bring people together who normally would never speak and that often leads to good things happening.

Orhan McMillan, The Walls Project’s communications director, said studies have shown that community projects like the one at Gayosa Park bring positive change to the surrounding area.

McMillan said the blighted area around the park needs revitalization and the project will help bring awareness to residents outside of the area.

The walls were a bit different than what The Walls Project typically paints. Instead of a specific design or mural in mind, the volunteers were left to mostly fend for themselves and create whatever they liked.

Phillips said the freedom was interesting to watch. Many of the painters were a little confused about what to paint, he said, but they ultimately created a beautiful, original piece of art.

“Sometimes the less you structure, the better it goes,” Phillips said.

One of the volunteers, Meagan Simone, was busy painting a yellow rectangle on one piece of the mural that looked like a prism of colors.

Art represents the core values in human beings, she said. It allows people to be creative while developing social skills like communication and networking.

Walls Project employee and Baton Rouge High School student Michael Connelly said art can bring people of all backgrounds together and strengthen community relationships.