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Baton Rouge: A work of art for the arts

Among Baton Rouge edifices, the Shaw Center for the Arts is a standout, often called the most distinctive building in the city. Meeting planners would be remiss to skip this arts showcase, which opened five years ago diagonally across the street from the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center.

Boston-based architects Schwartz Silver took an old brick auto garage and married it to a glass-clad box with cantilevered roofs and interesting angles. The result is a structure that is almost sculptural, a perfect place for the Baton Rouge’s artistic organizations that make their home there. Multiple architectural awards have come the Shaw Center’s way.

The Shaw and the Hilton often team up to accommodate larger groups or to offer a change of pace to groups that are meeting in the hotel.

Among the tempting event spaces tucked within the Shaw are the bowl-shaped 325-seat LSU Manship Theater, modeled after European opera houses; an open-air, 5,000-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden with views of the Mississippi River; Tsunami Sushi, a popular restaurant; and the 14 galleries of the fifth floor’s LSU Museum of Art, with its permanent collections of Newcombe pottery and works by Louisiana artists and artisans as well as traveling exhibitions.

Also scattered about the building are a boardroom with views of the river and the Old State Capitol; the first-floor gallery of the LSU School of Arts, two black-box theaters; conference rooms; and studios and workshops, as well as an upscale steakhouse, a fine-dining grill and a convenient coffee shop.