Beale Street Theater Mural
Midway through 2018 I started applying to national public art RFP’s & RFQ’s, (Request For Proposals and Request For Qualifications). After a few months of searching, designing, and preparing such applications, and many rejections I might add, I received my very first competitive commission from the Kingman Main Street group in Kingman, AZ!
I spent ten incredible days there, not only painting, but seeing some of the most outstanding sites Arizona has to offer!
Kingman is known as the Heart of Route 66 because it holds the longest stretch of that historic highway. Since the 70’s, Kingman has been in a slow decline as Route 66 was less and less traveled, until the historic downtown area was all but a ghost town, relying on tourism for the most part for survival. Now, over the past 5 or 6 years, businesses have started opening up there again including two prominent breweries on the main drag, and there has been a major initiative to revitalize Beale Street in particular with new restaurants, shops, parks and public art.
While I was there I saw and met tourists from Japan, China, Korea, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. It’s incredible how people from around the world have an interest for and romanticize about the spirit of Route 66.
The Kingman Main Street group, founded a little more than a year ago, sought to create an Art Alley public art gallery running parallel to Beale Street and so posted a national Call to Artists to design and paint the first of many murals in that area. I’ve been told artists from as far away as Germany, Australia and Japan competed for this prize, over 50 applicants apparently, and they chose me and one of the many concepts I presented.
This project is so dear to my heart and I will tell you why. One reason is that it was my first successful, out of state, public art proposal, but more than that, on Sept. 11th my father passed away after a year long and painful bout with cancer. In fact I was not sure if I would be able to paint this mural because things were not looking good. As it turns out we were able to keep our schedule and I had a chance to process the loss by stepping away and having some time to think after his first memorial service in Sarasota, FL, the second service was held in our hometown of Ellicott City, MD. It was a therapeutic week.
My contact person for the project, Paul Gaines, and all the town actually, were so welcoming and supportive, I cannot tell you how good it felt to be cared for after pouring so much of myself out for my family over the prior months. Gifts, gift cards, free meals and friendships that will last beyond the scope of the project were all benefits of this experience. Once the mural was complete I spent time hiking on the local Monolith trail, the spectacular Hualapei Mountains, including Aspen Peak, elevation 7950 ft. I saw the Grand Canyon West, the Hoover Dam, was a guest on a podcast, (Cartoon Casual), even took a small 4 seater plane ride over the town and witnessed my mural from the air, compliments of Paul Gaines! It was a 100% life giving trip, one that I will always remember. Everything ran so smoothly I think the Kingman Mainstreet group was appreciative. They even held an unveiling of the mural, complete with a DJ, beer and food trucks. I can’t say enough about that experience! Thank you Kingman!!!
Public art commission from the C.A.S.I.D. community development non-profit
After applying to a national call to artists request for proposal to decorate the number of traffic utility boxes that scatter Central Avenue in Jersey City, I was selected to install two such boxes. The materials used are a combination of vinyl wrap and exterior acrylic paint, then coated with a polyurethane finish.
Thanks to Director David Diaz, who showed us around Jersey City, enlightening us about it’s rich history and even treating us to an authentic Cuban meal! My son and I loved it!
Oregon Ridge Nature Center Library
During the weekends I painted an interior woodland scene in the library/teaching center at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center as part of a renovation project which included not only the mural
but new book shelves, counter top and sink, and new floor tiles.
The mural depicts a patch of woods framing a rocky stream similar to what you might stumble upon while hiking the 1,000 acres Oregon Ridge has to offer. It also will act as a background for some of the stuffed Squirrel, Raccoon, Birds and Deer that grace
the Nature Center.
Pointers Run Elementary School
Ellicott City, MD
For two years in a row I was hired as Artist-In-Residence to facilitate a one day mural event at Pointers Run Elementary School. Our project was one of several that day as others re-painted the school play lot lines, built outdoor classroom tables and weeded the garden. As you can see we had a solid turn out of volunteers, mostly painting the base coats.
After that initial day, I would come back and “touch up” the artwork before it’s considered complete.
The pictures tell the story much better than I can!
Oregon Ridge Nature Center
The first of two murals I painted for the Baltimore County Parks & Rec. Oregon Ridge Nature Center, the Reptile room hosts an active bee hive that was the focal point of the mural. I included a handful of hexagonal hive cells to act as display areas for information the center employees could add and change as needed. Also included in the mural is an opossum, gray fox, deer, snakes, and birds like the pileated woodpecker. This took about 7 days to complete.
Baltimore Office of the Promotion of the Arts
In 2012, I was chosen as one of five artists to complete a mural for the city of Baltimore through Baltimore Office of the Promotion of the Arts. They supply the paint and scaffolding while I supply the design and labor. This design is a welcome sign to the neighborhood of Bayview and was partially sponsored by Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is located on the corner of Elrino St. and Eastern Ave. in Baltimore.
One interesting anecdote about this project was that one night I stored several 5 gallon buckets of paint up on the top level of the scaffolding thinking, "Who would climb all the way up here and mess with it?" Well, that night someone did, and the following morning I was greeted with two story drips of black running down the face of the mural and splatter on the sidewalk below. Needless to say the rest of that day was spent restoring everything to its proper look. I did get to test my skills at faux concrete though, choosing to paint over the splatter and puddles instead of trying to remove them. Never found the culprit.
Another Outdoor Classroom Initiative for Howard County Public Schools. This one features the Lifecycle of a Butterfly and is at the location where the Science Class students unleash their own Monarch Butterflies after hatching from their cocoons.
I had a swarm of student volunteers during this one day event and then returned the following weekend to finish the details.