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College Park hopes to add vibrancy to downtown with large mural

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Posted on: January 28, 2019

By ROXANNE READY — The College Park City-University Partnership has requested artist proposals for a 57-foot-wide mural near the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road.

“We want it to make a statement about the community,” Eric Olson, the executive director of the partnership, said.

A $15,000 grant from the Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority and a matched grant from the city will fund the project. The money — $30,000 in total — will cover artist materials, personnel and other operating costs.

The prominent wall “jumped out as a location,” said Olson, adding that he hopes the finished product will speak “to this city’s history and the downtown as a vibrant arts and culture district.”

The location previously featured a mural of a chapel, painted in 1991 by artist Val E. Lewton. The building’s owner, Chuck Castle, said he had the mural removed about five years ago after a storm made the facade it was painted on unsafe.

A postcard shows a 1991 photograph of the mural that had been on the building previously. Image courtesy of Dhiru A. Thadani

Castle said he had hoped to replace the mural eventually, so he was pleased when Olson came to him about the new project.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Castle said. “It might [help] solidify our identity. We are kind of a cool college town.”

Unlike the original mural, the new work will feature LED uplighting at night. Castle said he hopes to work with the building’s neighbors to place the lights on their roofs.

Members of the partnership, city staff and Castle himself will consider artist proposals and make a final decision.

The partnership helped coordinate the creation of another mural last summer on the pedestrian underpass at the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Paint Branch Drive. The mural, called “A Path Forward,” commemorates the history of Lakeland.

A meeting with the property owner, city and partnership staff will be held at the College Park City Hall on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. for artists interested in hearing more about the project. For complete submission guidelines, visit the College Park Partnership website.

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