Henry Turner Jr. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

A day in the life of the arts 2020

1 City.
5 Photographers.
24 Hours.

Less than one week before Baton Rouge businesses were closed and events were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, we sent five photographers to capture art throughout the city from dawn until well past dusk. The photo essay that follows represents just a bit of the inspirational arts that took place on Saturday, March 7.

We strongly believe that the arts are an essential component to the vitality of our Baton Rouge community, and we look forward to the day when we can again experience the sound of an orchestra tuning up and view an oil painter’s interpretation of our local landscape. Until then, be reminded of the blessings of an ordinary day in the world of Baton Rouge art.


6:20 a.m.

They call it golden hour: the quiet moments surrounding the sunrise when warm rays give a soft glow to all they touch. As this Saturday starts, those pale pink beams shine upon the sleek stainless steel curves of the 14-foot-tall “Sing the River” sculpture recently installed on the downtown riverfront. Commissioned by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge in honor of the organization’s 100th anniversary, the sculpture by California artist Po Shu Wang is connected to sensors in the Mississippi River and plays musical sounds as the water rises and falls. Photo by Joey Bordelon.

8:17 a.m.

Abe Negaran displays his Louisiana-themed artworks at the neighborhood-wide Spanish Town Spring Yard Sale, which in addition to dozens of typical home yard sales features several tables offering wares created by artistic neighborhood residents. Negaran, an LSU-trained engineer who embraces his expressive side via his business, Abe’s Drawings, uses toothpicks to create the intricate freehand designs that are the signature of his distinctive works. Photo by Collin Richie.

8:56 a.m.

Artist Marc Verret (known as Marc Fresh) does final touchups on a mural for the new restaurant Boru Ramen & Poke in Electric Depot. Verret has painted large-scale murals all over Baton Rouge for years, and he has worked with kids through the Summer Youth Employment Program by The Walls Project. Photo by TahJah Harmony.

9:16 a.m.

Lisa Sherk creates a smiling sun during StoryTime in the Garden at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens. This monthly event—presented by the Junior League of Baton Rouge—includes storybook readings and imagination-themed activities. StoryTime in the Garden promotes early childhood literacy for children ages 3 to 8 in the Baton Rouge area. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

9:34 a.m.

A blue beadboard façade within Spanish Town Market makes an eye-catching gallery wall for an exhibit of paintings by members of the Baton Rouge Plein Air Painters club, while market owner Travis Campbell reviews paperwork at the table that lines the wall. The artist group spent the month of February using their brushes to capture images of the unique architecture in this neighborhood. More than a century old, Spanish Town Market serves up daily plate lunch specials alongside grocery essentials for residents who prefer to shop hyper-local. Photo by Collin Richie.

10:07 a.m.

On the first Saturday of every month, the Baton Rouge Arts Market is held in conjunction with the weekly Red Stick Farmers Market downtown. This open-air market—supported by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge—allows local artists a chance to sell their creations directly to the public while meeting other makers. The events have become so popular that a second arts market launched in September at The Arc of Baton Rouge on Jefferson Highway. Photo by Sean Gasser.

11:11 a.m.

Marion Bienvenu leads an informative and interactive theatrical performance called “The Traveling Trunk Show” at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. The event, which is typically held every Saturday morning, was launched a decade ago as a way to expose young children to both scientific concepts and the arts. Puppets, props, songs and games keep kids engaged and moving around the stage with smiles on their faces. Photo by Sean Gasser.

11:42 a.m.

We can thank Instagram, YouTube and millennials (who are masters at social media) for launching the beauty industry into a whole new realm. Sure, ladies from decades gone by occasionally had their makeup done by a professional—for their wedding. But today, professional makeup artists abound and help make just about any event more glamorous. Here, makeup artist Abby Manuel gives Riley McKernan a polished look for a dinner party she is attending later this evening. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

12:02 p.m.

Artist Kimberly Meadowlark contemplates her next painting at her home studio. This abstract artist and photographer did not consider the arts a potential occupation until high school, when health issues knocked this track star off her feet. Meadowlark was forced to enroll in art classes instead. There, she thrived and now has a thriving business selling art to personal collectors as well as photographing personal moments at weddings. Photo by TahJah Harmony.

12:34 p.m.

Jamaria Fisher frames a close-up of a pinecone through the camera lens on Southern University’s campus as part of The Futures Fund. This program—launched by The Walls Project—helps qualified school students focus on building careers in the arts. Through coding and photography, youth in Baton Rouge learn entrepreneurial skills and glean insight from multiple professionals and nonprofits in the area. Photo by Sean Gasser.

1:22 p.m.

Installation day. Chad Schoonmaker, a Baton Rouge artist, hangs up his canvases at the local café Brew Ha-Ha! Schoonmaker started painting as an escape from the stress of work, and he found great pleasure in the possibilities of a blank canvas, tubes of paint and brushes. His paintings were so well received that he began commissioning work with clients all over the country and showcasing his work at local events, art shows and businesses. Photo by TahJah Harmony.

1:37 p.m.

It’s a colorful celebration at the Hindu Vedic Society of Baton Rouge on South Kenilworth Parkway as the organization hosts its annual Holi Hai. Aimed at marking the beginning of spring, this “festival of colors” takes place on the full moon day that falls in the Hindi month of Phalguna (February-March) and draws together people of all ages like this 7-year-old girl named Aanya to spread friendship by throwing pigmented powders on each other as vibrant music plays. Photo by Collin Richie.

2:14 p.m.

Jacob Simmons, 15, of Covington High School, performs “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allen Poe in the final round of the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Capitol Park Museum. Simmons won first place in this Louisiana version of the national competition, which was developed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to encourage students to learn about great poetry while mastering public speaking skills. In a normal year, Simmons’ achievement would have entitled him to advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C., but the 2020 finals were cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Photo by Sean Gasser.

2:43 p.m.

Grammy-winning country musician Trisha Yearwood, center, joins the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra on the Raising Cane’s River Center stage for a final rehearsal before the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Great Performers in Concert series performance that will take place later this evening. The collaboration is one of numerous resounding successes for conductor Timothy Muffitt, right, who will retire at the end of this orchestra season after more than 20 years with BRSO.

3:46 p.m.

In his home studio, artisan Damien Mitchell works with leather to create one-of-a-kind pieces from wallets to totes to skillet handle covers. Mitchell says he always had a knack for making things, and a degree from the University of Louisiana in industrial design helped to inform his streamlined aesthetic. Want a custom piece? Mitchell’s “Build a Belt” offering lets customers select their preferred width, leather and buckle colors, and size for a perfect fit. Photo by Joey Bordelon.

4:12 p.m.

Musician and festival organizer Henry Turner Jr., along with his band Flavor, hosts a CD Listening Party at the Buddy Stewart Memorial Rhythm Museum & Rock Shop on North Acadian Thruway. The Rock Shop—once a heralded retail store—is now an antique record shop with a large collection of vinyl records on display and is visited by collectors and music enthusiasts from all over the world. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

7:49 p.m.

Bartenders at Soji: Modern Asian prepare for Tiki Night, a collaboration between the restaurant and Oakwash, a company owned by artist Omar Girona. It is Girona who handcrafts these one-of-a-kind tiki mugs using local materials sourced from Southern Pottery and sculpts, sands, glazes and fires each mug. Most of his works are sold out of state through partnerships with Disney. This evening, Soji launches the Tiki Night release party which includes limited editions of the mugs plus tropical cocktails. Photo by TahJah Harmony.

8:14 p.m.

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy shares his latest standup routine with an audience looking for big laughs at L’Auberge Baton Rouge’s Event Center. After becoming a national sensation in 1993 with his You Might Be a Redneck album, Foxworthy has gone on to host or star in five TV series and has sold more comedy recordings than anyone else. His Southern shtick played well alongside other famous funny guys as part of the uber-successful Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and his on-stage style has been compared to that of Mark Twain. Photo by Collin Richie.

8:56 p.m.

Little Rock-based designer Bridgette Jones unveils her new Mis’Fits line on the runway at Oneofakind Baton Rouge Fashion Week’s Big Night, held at the Milton J. Womack Ballroom. A former model, Jones created her collection to inspire women to “stand in your true self, even if that means standing out.” The local Fashion Week was launched by Brandon D. Campbell to showcase new and emerging designers, models and artists, and a portion of proceeds benefit local charities. Photo by Joey Bordelon.

10:36 p.m.

Baton Rouge’s own Chase Tyler Band takes the stage at the Texas Club off Florida Boulevard. Tyler was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2011 for his Southern rock, country and swamp pop originals. He follows in the footsteps of many popular musicians who have entertained the crowds at the Texas Club, including Hank Williams Jr., George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis and Clint Black. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

11:59 p.m.

With his alter ego of DJ Snoopadelic, rapper Snoop Dogg spins records at The Basin Music Hall on Third Street during a St. Patrick’s Day pre-party hosted by Raising Cane’s founder Todd Graves. Graves was scheduled to reign as grand marshal of the Wearing of the Green Parade before the threat of coronavirus halted all public activities, but that didn’t stop Snoop from entertaining crowds until well past midnight as another Day in the Life of the Arts wound to a close. Photo by Joey Bordelon.


These professional photographers went behind the lens to capture a day in the life of the arts in Baton Rouge on March 7. They are true artists, indeed! Click on their names below to visit their websites.

Sean Gasser

Sean is a commercial and portrait photographer who also has a passion for street photography. He received his bachelor’s from SLU and an MFA from the University of Miami. Gasser’s day began with a well-attended arts market, followed by a highly entertaining LASM show, then on to a photography lesson with the Futures Fund students, and wrapped up with a very competitive poetry contest. It speaks to the variety and vibrancy of what Baton Rouge has to offer.

TahJah Harmony

TahJah Harmony left her tech job as an app developer to actively pursue her passion for storytelling as a lifestyle photographer. When she isn’t behind her camera (or computer editing!) you can find her riding her bike around town, rock climbing, or playing her violin. With a coffee cup in one hand and the latest business book in the other, Harmony loves to inspire other creatives to live their passions by speaking on the subject and hosting “The Creative Health Podcast.”

Joey Bordelon

Joey Bordelon is a Baton Rouge-based commercial and fine art photographer whose work can be found nationally in publications and advertising campaigns. Joey studied fine art film photography and business at LSU. “The variety, level and abundance of art located on any given Saturday here is incredible,” says Bordelon. “If people began to look for art-related activities, they would probably be surprised at the abundant options right within their reach.”

Jordan Hefler

Jordan Hefler is a creative entrepreneur and photographer known for her love of color, music and personal expression. Her passion for content marketing, graphic design and social media has allowed her to spread beyond photography and grow into a brand of creative online workshops, merchandise and educational blogging, as well as host of the podcast “Do What You Want Radio.” She currently specializes in editorial and commercial branding photography for creative marketing campaigns, publications and the music industry.

Collin Richie

Collin Richie’s lifelong pursuit of photography began with a school project using a disposable camera. After graduating from LSU with a B.S. in biology and an MBA specializing in marketing, he continued his love of photography and ultimately has photographed everything from chemical plants to wedding portraits. In 2016, he founded Humans of the Water, a portrait project of victims of the August flood. Richie received numerous awards and his photographs have been exhibited in multiple museum shows.