BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU Museum of Art, along with a Baton Rouge barbershop celebrates the anniversary of an innovative community partnership to give children free haircuts.
December marks the 1 year anniversary of Line 4 Line, a community outreach program of LSU Museum of Art's Neighborhood Arts Project, began in December as an innovation partnership between the museum and Baton Rouge barber O'Neil Curtis.
Boys ages 2-13 can receive a free haircut in exchange for reading a book. Also includes healthy snacks, free books to bring home, and art making. From this monthly event also came the new Line 4 Line 449 Book Club.
To date, the program has served more than 160 boys LSU MOA says, fostering and strengthening literacy, creating positive attitude towards books, providing relatable role models, and getting free books into the hands of children.
In addition to haircuts, books and food, Line 4 Line also includes hands-on art marking facilitated by mentors in LSU MOA's Neighborhood Arts Project.
The Line 4 Line exhibition, curated by artist and art historian Meg Holford, features over 40 photographs celebrating this unique community partnership to make a difference in the lives of young boys in Baton Rouge. The exhibit is currently on display at Family and Youth Service Center.
The photo project began in February 2016 with LSU Graduate Student Tania Inniss taking portraits of the boys' post-haircut and Simone Schmidt photographing the program in action.
"These first photos were powerful and simply beautiful, seeing boys of all ages seated in chairs reading, while the barbers were clipping away, bending in to listen to the kids read, seeing kids helping each other decode words and then seeing portraits of the boys beaming post-haircut—it truly was magical," explained Lucy Perera, LSU Museum of Art Coordinator of School & Community Programs.
Line 4 Line takes place at O'Neil's Barber & Beauty Salon on North Acadian with barber and owner O'Neil Curtis, co-founder of Line 4 Line, and his four barbers Cedric Dent, Lloyd Oliver, Ramon Johnson, and Todd Edwards.
All of the barbers volunteer to come to the shop on their day off to cut hair, aiming to be a true role model for children.
"There is a lot of potential with this program, it just takes new minds coming together from different backgrounds and perspectives. It's all about the kids, making them feel special and letting them know we care. If we can show some of these kids that we care about them, I think we can change their lives," explained O'Neil Curtis, a graduate from Glen Oaks High and an advocate for reading and taking time with kids.
The Line 4 Line program continues the first Monday of each month, the next one being December 5 from 4 until 7 p.m., at O'Neil's Barber & Beauty Salon, 449 North Acadian. Sponsors of the program include St. Aloysius Catholic School by providing books, LSU Glassell Gallery and LSU Graduate Student Office of Design assisting with the exhibition.