Monroe non-profit starts new mural to beautify downtown area

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana started its newest project on Saturday. Volunteers began working on the #ChildrenThrive mural they hope will help breathe life into downtown Monroe.

Volunteers began work on a mural for the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. (Source: KNOE)

Vitus Shell is the lead artist for the mural. He says his love for projects like this started as a teen. “I've always watched other people doing it,” Shell says. “I follow graffiti stuff. So, I wanted to try it out.”

So, he put his brush to work. "I always painted. I started painting when I was 16. I had my first art show in my little room when I stayed in the projects on Burg Jones Lane. So, I've always wanted to showcase my work."

He is now using that talent with other area artists and kids to create the first mural for the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana.

"I'm hoping they'll enjoy it, because they'll be able to come back and see the stuff that they painted, see their own hands in the work and can tell their friends that they did this mural," Shell says.

The mural will be placed along the fence that surrounds its family garden. Brooke Cassady says the mural will give people a sneak peek inside the walls. "Because of our fence, people don't know what's really going on the inside,” says Cassady, volunteer coordinator for the organization. “So, the idea is to have the mural to display who we are and what we do and say we want you to come inside and do this with us."

This is just the beginning for this soon-to-be work of art, and everyone here hopes it will bring a splash of color to the area. "The goal is that we continue to build sponsorships, and it goes all the way down the outside of this fence," Cassady says. "We're trying to brighten up this whole space downtown and make it feel more hopeful and positive."

They hope to do that by making downtown Monroe brighter one project at a time.

"Murals are a direct connection to the community,” Shell says. “People can see that. So hopefully, Harrison will become a street people can go to see murals."

Cassady says they plan to put the mural up the third Saturday of October.