The power of collaboration
In 2016, unprecedented rains flooded Baton Rouge, sending some residents down to New Orleans for safety. Ten years prior, when Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, many people sought refuge in Baton Rouge. These cities have proven that the power of collaboration strengthens our resolve and leads to incredible possibilities.
During those 2016 floods, another kind of collaboration was occurring behind the scenes, as OnStar partnered with the American Red Cross to handle the overflow of crisis calls.
To celebrate all of these inspirational efforts, OnStar invited street artists from New Orleans and Baton Rouge to come together with the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC) and paint a mural in homage to the communities’ resolve.
Track and share our journey using the hashtag #OnStarGivesBack. OnStar will donate* to the American Red Cross* disaster relief efforts and the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, and the more you share the hashtag, the more OnStar will donate. And don’t forget to check here for videos as the mural comes to life. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
In this time-lapse video, muralists Brandan Odums and Jacob Zumo collaborate on a community-focused mural in downtown Baton Rouge — with help from the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition — bringing art to life before your eyes.
Brandan Odums: New Orleans native Brandan “B-mike” Odums is a sought-after muralist and community-minded artist who was in Louisiana during the 2016 floods. He combines vivid color with abstract shapes and historical context to create portrait-oriented work that makes people stop in their tracks, stare and think.
Jacob Zumo: You can find Jacob Zumo’s paintings on walls, in galleries and in homes throughout the southern United States, including in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La. Zumo, who was in Baton Rouge during the 2016 floods, is garnering a reputation for his mural portraits of famous people and recently completed a fellowship in Italy.
Artists Jacob Zumo and Brandan Odums recall their flood experience and talk about the power of artistic and communal collaboration.
Baton Rouge Youth Coalition Fellow Imani McCullum and Jeanne Smith: Baton Rouge Magnet High School students Imani McCullum and Jeanne Smith were both greatly impacted by the 2016 floods. McCullum’s father, hesitant to leave the family home, had to be rescued. But she stayed focused on the future. The young poet won first place in an international slam poetry competition last summer and has written an emotionally evocative poem about the effects the flood had on her community, family and soul. Smith says her family got out of their house just before it was too late, carrying whatever they could manage. She says that dealing with the loss of material possessions was hard, but watching her neighborhood work together in the aftermath has been nothing short of inspiring.
OnStar Advisor Orlando Hodges: Orlando Hodges is a dedicated OnStar Advisor who works at OnStar’s call center in Warren, Mich. He has a true passion for helping people and stepped up in a major way when OnStar took overflow American Red Cross crisis calls during the 2016 floods in Baton Rouge. He was OnStar’s 2016 Advisor of the Year.
In an effort to strengthen the awesome and resilient community, OnStar will donate to the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and American Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
BRYC Fellows Imani McCullum and Jeanne Smith talk about their experiences during the flood and the effect it had on them and their community. We also hear from 2016 OnStar Advisor of the Year Orlando Hodges, who answered crisis calls during the flood.