Dig Baton Rouge

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Inside the Mid City Art Scene

Baton Rouge’s main cultural facilities—such as the Baton Rouge Gallery, the Shaw Center and The Varsity—enjoy large crowds made up of art and music lovers. However, the Red Stick harbors a vast array of art galleries and live music venues with artists of every level oozing with talent. You just got to know where to find them. Notably, the Mid City area is quickly becoming one of the cultural epicenters in the city for locals and visitors alike with funky venues and art spaces adorned with eclectic works. With events such as Hot Art, Cool Nights and Mid City Rising, it’s no better time to keep a watch on this growing arts district. DIG checks out some of the best spots in Mid City that serve as an oasis for the artistically inclined. Many of these galleries and venues are free to visit or have cheap cover charges, offering you the chance to start your art collection or discover new bands and musicians for your next playlist. 

Bricks and Bombs: The shop may be small, but it packs quite a punch. Bricks and Bombs does a wonderful job at showcasing local talent by hosting art openings for local talent. Initially, a retail shop and gallery space, owner Brad Jensen has gained a reputation for respecting the artistic community and wanting to see it thrive. He’s currently shifted the shop’s focus as solely an art space. Check out the pop-up shows that happen here for a taste of underground counterculture art. 

Pop Shop Records: When you think of music, you’ll probably imagine the vibes flowing from out the front doors at Pop Shop Records. The store is colorful, abstract and is a haven for vinyl collectors. Carrying on the tradition of the former Atomic Pop Shop, the back portion of Pop Shop Records also doubles as a killer event space. Several BR music staples including Minos the Saint, The Rakers, and Shipwrecked have played here as well as musical acts that have been on the road. They also host spoken word nights and pop up caricatures.  

Brew Ha-Ha: When’s the last time you dropped by this local coffee shop and looked at the artwork on its walls? If you haven’t lately, you’re missing out! Widely known for their cake balls, Brew Ha-Ha often spotlights local artists on its walls with great pops of color and texture. Artists have their work rotated regularly, which enhances the creative atmosphere while providing beginning artists their first-time venues. 

The Guru: Compared to other music venues, The Guru’s ambiance is more relaxed with the music being a few decibels lower. A true listening room, The Guru features local acoustic music ranging from the likes of Denton Hatcher to Peter Simon and Ben Herrington of Minos the Saint. Providing an atmosphere that promotes musical conversation, The Guru is a must on anyone’s list for acoustic and open mic nights. 

Radio Bar: The art here won’t be up forever as Radio Bar instead serves as a temporary spot for the pop-up exhibition Stabbed in the Art. Created and curated by Rodneyna Hart of Culture Candy, Stabbed in the Art is a must-see for aspiring young artists who are just getting onto the scene. At Radio Bar, one can take in an array of paintings, photographs and other art in the abstract or modern genre while enjoying craft cocktails at the bar. Cocktails are an art form of their own, you know. 

Mid City Ballroom: The walls of a former church are now home to Mid City Ballroom, a reception hall whose mission is to bring the elements of art, music, and culture together. With a heavy focus on music, Mid City Ballroom is known for booking several acts both local and on the road, but there has been an eclectic range of events as well including dance lessons, theatre productions and ‘80s dance night. The wide diversity of activities is welcoming to entertainment lovers of all degrees. 

Photo courtesy of Bricks and Bombs

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