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Northeast Delta HSA's collaborates with Black Creative Circle of Northeast to create mural at Grambling State University

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) is unveiled a public art mural on the campus of Grambling State University on Thursday, September 1. The latest public art mural continues NEDHSA’s partnership with the Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana (BCCNL).

The agency began working on using various art forms as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities.

The mural on the Grambling State University campus is the second commissioned public art completed through the BCCNL partnership. It was strategically placed on the campus in the Grambling High Building to help the students overcome the traumatic experiences they have had in their lives on campus or away from campus.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said, “while the murals we’re commissioning are generating much-needed regional economic development, diversity, and job creation, they are also helping our region’s vulnerable populations get the help they need.”

“We believe there is medicine in creative expression, and the arts can help a person come alive in ways traditional treatment options can’t,” Dr. Sizer said. “We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed.”

According to the Americans for the Arts, 69 percent of the United States population believe the Arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” 73 percent feel the Arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 81 percent say the Arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot said he is “inspired by the partnership between the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana, and Northeast Delta Human Services Authority.”

"The importance of supporting the whole student cannot be overstated,” Gallot said. “I am thankful for their collective vision of finding ways to keep mental health at the forefront of daily conversation."

Grambling State University Chairperson of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Rodrecas Davis, MFA, said after COVID-19, he and other faculty had many students dealing with issues and “needed a place where they could unburden themselves.”

“The physical space is representative of the focus to provide an avenue for students to discuss self-care with their peers and address the importance of attending to one’s mental health,” Davis said. “My hope is that this space will facilitate those conversations.”

BCCNL’s President Vitus Shell said murals are “direct and great ways to express a community’s concerns and needs, envisioning a new future and safer space for the people.”

“Kids and the rest of the community can see themselves in a new light,” Shell said. “Murals can enforce themes for the people and show that someone cares about their quality of life.”

Shell said BCCNL looks like the city’s majority, and “we use our voices and talent to speak up for the unheard.”

“Artists are the visionaries of our neighborhoods, so with NEDHSA, this partnership is perfect,” Shell said. “The history and mission of NEDHSA align with our goals of empowering creatives to create change in any way imaginable.”