Line 4 Line grew out of LSU’s Neighborhood Arts Project in Baton Rouge. It’s one of the outreach programs of LSU’s Museum of Art, as well as the Art Works Program, a program which focuses on bringing kids from low-performing schools to the art museum. The LSU program is so much more than just a reading program at a barbershop. They have worked to add books and reading to so many different parts of their community, including reading programs during museum tours and Little Libraries.
O’Neil Curtis and Lucy Perera were kind enough to answer our questions, and we couldn’t be happier to help spread the word about their amazing literacy program!
TTA: Introduce yourself!
L4L: We are O’Neil Curtis and Lucy Perera, founders of Line4Line. O’Neil was born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana and is owner of O’Neil’s Barber and Beauty Salon. Ever since he was young he always wanted to be a barber, but he also has always been interested in helping others. O’Neil has a daughter in 5th grade and realizes the importance of literacy as a key to success in life. He also has experienced many of the same obstacles that lead children to not identify as readers and thus created Line4Line as a creative program to show boys that reading is cool. Lucy Perera was born in Boston and had two high school kids. She helps with all of the program details of Line4Line that don’t involve cutting hair. She loves art, animals and children’s books specifically diverse culturally relevant books – so that children can see themselves and relate to what’s on the pages. Lucy has worked in the field of arts / museum education for 20 years and loves to develop community programs that serve a direct need.
TTA: What are you passionate about?
L4L: O’Neil – is passionate about his community, family, helping others, being a role model for young boys and young men. Lucy is passionate about nature, history and kids –like O’Neil Lucy believes in the goodness and potential of everyone and thus works to create programs that creatively work to inspire kids to be their most creative talented selves.
TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!
L4L: Getting our library backspace up so that books can be available for kids to check out who visit the barbershop and to have Saturday programs in that space.
TTA: How can people support you on your journey?
L4L: We appreciate suggestions of books, authors sending us new books, having people share our program and of course donations. Line4Line is run 100% through volunteers, funds raised go towards books and program materials. In a dream world we could have funds to expand our program into other barbershops around our city, state, region and beyond.
TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?
L4L: So many great books —-Lucy’s Favorite adult book was Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Her favorite children’s book was Julian is a Mermaid! – O’Neils favorite adult book was the art and science of respect by James Prince, and children’s book was 12 rounds to glory: the story of Muhammad Ali” by Charles R. Smith jr.
TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
L4L: Continuing to make a difference — one book, one haircut and one conversation at a time.