Dig Baton Rouge

Scaled Up

By Tara Bennett

The art collective known as Elevator Projects is offering the citizens of Baton Rouge a chance to live like a kid again with throwback games and superhero play.

Elevator Projects is a grassroots art organization founded by artist Raina Wirta, who serves as the group’s creative director. The group’s mission is to put on creative and innovate projects that educate and bring together different people in the city of Baton Rouge to amplify the city’s culture. Their latest project is known as ARTcade, which will feature a handmade arcade for both children and adults alike.

“ARTcade is going to feature life-size, interactive and real time video and arcade games,” said Wirta. “There’s a lot of creative interpretation of those arcade games.”

There will be team competitions as well as large-scale projections. Some of the games featured will be a larger than life Lite-Brite and Battleship. Several of the games measure out to be 6 ft. high and 10 ft. wide. All the games were made by local artists or artist groups and have been working on the games since July.

“We engage artists on a different level,” said Wirta. “There’s a lot of artists doing stuff in Baton Rouge, but this is one of the ways they can really show some of the projects that they’re working on and show off the interface between art and digital media as well.”

The event will be held on Sunday, September 7 from 1-7 p.m. in a Mid-City space located at 761 Choctaw Dr. According to Wirta, more games are still being added as the group expects 300-500 people to visit throughout the day

“We want to make sure there’s a variety of activities for people to do,” said Wirta. “It’s important for Baton Rouge because I think it expands what we understand to be the creative arts in the city.”

ARTcade serves as a fundraiser for Elevator Projects to raise funds in order to continue doing projects like this and create new programming for next year.

“We want to keep doing projects like this, and we also want to do some more workshops and programming that will allow a lot of people to engage with our organization in a more sustainable way,” said Wirta.

The idea behind ARTcade came from a similar project the group did in the past. According to Wirta, she believes a project like this is necessary to get excited about playing games again and give people a venue to obtain that kid feeling again, which we lose as we mature.

“College people need something like that in the community,” said Wirta. “It’s a different experience when you’re interacting with people on a different level than just looking at video games or playing video games and just physically interacting with them and the game.”

Wirta also encourages everyone to come dressed up as their own homegrown superhero. Contestants will get to compete against other superheroes in feats that test their creativity and innovation. Awards will be given for best costume, superpower and skill.

“We want to have a sense that they are their own superhero,” said Wirta.

Because Elevator Projects is big on DIY, there will be a costume making space made available for those who wish to work on their super heroes costumes.

“We highly encourage DIY and encourage people to make things with the things they already have,” said Wirta.

Admission to ARTcade is $10 for anyone over the age of 12. Game tickets are $1 each.

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