"When I was approached by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and the owners of Cocha to help create a space that would allow visitors and locals to have a sense of separation from the concrete feel of any downtown, all while creating a beautiful environment that represents Louisiana culture, I knew exactly how I could help," Jacobsen said.

On November 3 and 17 from 8:00 a.m. until noon, The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Cocha Restaurant, and members of the R.I.S.E. program will join forces with artist Taylor Jacobsen to beautify the downtown block of 6th Street between Main and Laurel Streets.

This beautification project is the brainchild of Cocha owners, Saskia and Enrique Pinerua-Spanhoff, who wanted to create a walkable appealing neighborhood surrounding their farm-to-table restaurant and reached out to the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and the Downtown Development District who coordinated a temporary outdoor seating experience and is assisting the property owners and businesses on the block to optimize curb appeal and walkability earlier this fall, as well as this weekend’s mural project.

The Arts Council is collaborating with the R.I.S.E. (Rehabilitating Individuals through Strategic Encounters) program at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana to work with the artists and restauranteurs. This voluntary program offers support to nonviolent offenders who have served at least 36 months in federal prison and who are considered to be at a high risk of recidivism. Judge Shelly Dick heads the program, along with Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes. They, along with probation officers, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Public Defenders will participate together with the R.I.S.E. participants to beautify the area.

The Arts Council introduced Taylor Jacobsen to Cocha’s Saskia and Enrique who designed the mural. Jacobsen has an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from LSU and is a current candidate in the Landscape Architecture Master’s program at LSU. He recently moved back to Baton Rouge from Texas where he founded an industrial drone business. Now the owner of New Land Development Jacobsen moved back to downtown Baton Rouge because of the renewed focus on the cultural life of the city’s riverfront and the growth of the arts scene.

"When I was approached by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and the owners of Cocha to help create a space that would allow visitors and locals to have a sense of separation from the concrete feel of any downtown, all while creating a beautiful environment that represents Louisiana culture, I knew exactly how I could help," Jacobsen said.

The design for the mural, roughly under 2,000 square feet has been designed to bring depth, color, and a more importantly a natural look to the streets of downtown. Although the mural will deliver a feeling of nature, surrounded by local birds, critters, and native planting, the center piece will be the Tree of Life, a 15-foot tall colorful representation of the seasonal changes throughout the year, ever changing and grounding its roots in to the very street of Baton Rouge. This vision was developed by the owners of Cocha to match their evolving menu and more importantly their long-term commitment to the city of Baton Rouge.

“I am beyond excited to begin work on the mural and help the city of Baton Rouge reconnect to their love for nature, art, and local spaces to call home,” Jacobsen relayed.

The weekend’s activities coincide with the Baton Rouge Arts Market’s 20th Anniversary celebration in conjunction with the Red Stick Farmer’s Market.

Contributed by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge