Everyone is an artist. Some use numbers in a spreadsheet, some creatively solve problems, and some paint on walls like muralist Ellen Ogden. You may have seen her work in regional Trader Joe’s stores or perhaps somewhere in or around Baton Rouge. No matter where you find her vibrant artwork, you will notice it has become part of the environment in which it lives, echoing the energy from the space from which it was created. Ellen has become known as a masterful muralist with her larger than life creations.
“I don’t have anything premixed. Everything is on-site. I guess that’s the most defining part of my art that I stick to is that element because I spend more time mixing color on my palate than I do putting it on my canvas for sure,” explains Ellen.
Ogden recently completed a mural honoring the work of the volunteers at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. The new mural pays tribute to all of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly sorting and packing food boxes for distribution to local families in need.
Looking closely at the mural you will see the full continuum of service to others. On the far left there is the much needed food. To the right, there are the volunteers who pack the food and distribute it to those in need. At the bottom right, there are the food recipients being nourished by the food received from the Food Bank. The red infinity loop connects each stage and element together. Closing the Loop of Hunger: the literal meaning of what the Food Bank does and the story being told throughout the mural.
“We’re all dependent on each one of us in the community to keep this machine going,” says Ogden. “Loving and feeling good and generous. The infinity loop was something that is going to be continuous with the work that we put in, and the love that’s put forth here. The red thread is a homage to the Food Bank’s color.”
Ogden says there are many iterations of the red thread throughout different cultures that tie people together so they feel connected on a human level in bringing people together. This is the very fuel that drives the Food Bank: people from the community volunteer their time to build boxes of food to help others in their community who are facing hunger.
“Every moment of that cycle is a moment of nurturing and love and passing forward,” says Ogden.
The main thing she hopes is that when volunteers come in, they feel honored and recognized because it is such impressive work they are doing for the community and that needs to be recognized.
To see more of Ellen’s work, find her on social media at @ElloArtist.