NEDHSA Selects Louisiana Tech Master's Graphic Design Student for Ruston Integrated Care Clinic Mural Design

NEDHSA Selects Louisiana Tech Master's Graphic Design Student for Ruston Integrated Care Clinic Mural Design

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) selects Louisiana Tech Master's Graphic Design Student Daija Essien to design a mural at its Ruston Integrated Care Clinic. NEDHSA adopted arts as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities. This project is another extension of this effort.

MONROE, La., July 10, 2024 Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) selects Louisiana Tech Master's Graphic Design Student Daija Essien to design a mural at its Ruston Integrated Care Clinic. NEDHSA adopted arts as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities. This project is another extension of this effort.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A Sizer said the agency "intends to help make Northeast Louisiana a regional creative hub, a preferred destination that will generate much-needed regional economic development, diversity, job creation, and more."

"We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed." - Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, NEDHSA Executive Director

"We believe there is medicine in creative expression, and the arts can help a person come alive in ways traditional treatment options can't," Dr. Sizer said. "We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed."

According to the Americans for the Arts, 69 percent of the United States population believe the arts "lift me up beyond everyday experiences," 73 percent feel the arts give them "pure pleasure to experience and participate in," and 81 percent say the arts are a "positive experience in a troubled world."

NEDHSA tasked Essien to create a mural for an outside tin shed using the agency's vision, the community and cultural values of Ruston and Lincoln Parish.

Essien was able to create symbols of unity, connectivity, and culture. In the piece, Essien provided the specific establishment date of Ruston in 1883, incorporating Grambling State University and Louisiana Tech logos. Essien also illustrated the Ruston High Bearcat tracks, making tracks upward to indicate forward and upward progress. She also portrayed the Ruston Dixie Theatre building, a community landmark in downtown Ruston. Understanding the branding challenges of connecting Ruston Behavioral Health with the brand of the HSA, Essien said she "took aim at telling the viewers directly that Ruston has its own Human Services Authority, and ultimately unifying all sides with the shaking of hands indicating unity. All this is wrapped in the eccentric and emboldened agency colors of orange and purple."

"After spending many long, hot days designing and painting this mural, I hope the artwork will bring more attention to the amazing services provided by Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, which aims to enhance the lives of Ruston and the surrounding area's residents, "Essien said.

"My goal was to showcase the diversity and richness of this area, from representing schools to highlighting landmarks, and to create a design that embodies the program's mission by bringing these elements together," Essien said.

The mural is located at 901 White Street in Ruston, and agency staff, clients, and the community can view it unlimitedly.

Dr. Sizer added: "Art could be that spark that further ignites better regional population health, racial unity, economic opportunities for all, and pride in where we call home. It's our time to create a place we are all proud of, a place where we foster hope and opportunities for all. There is no better time than now. This is our time."