New life, underwater, on Fayette Street

Written by on April 24, 2013 in Featured, Neighborhood News - No comments

East Baltimore graffiti writer and decorative painter Adam Stab brings the Chesapeake Bay to life in an area mural project. Photo by Danielle Sweeney.

“Creatures of the Chesapeake Bay,” a mural created by East Baltimore  graffiti writer and decorative painter Adam Stab with help from local children in the Banner Neighborhoods Art club, is almost done.

The mural project, begun last September at Fayette St. where it meets N. East Ave., just needs a few more touches of bay grasses, says Leanna Wetmore, a community organizer with Banner Neighborhoods.

The mural, which features horseshoe crabs, river otters, blue crabs, and rockfish, is painted on the north side of several commercial storage units, and is a collaborative effort.

“Banner Neighborhoods is part of the mix, but so are Communities for All Ages, the Southeast Community Development Corporation, and the Creative Alliance,” Wetmore explains.

The project was funded by the Baltimore Community Foundation, which is providing three years of grant funding targeted to Greater Highlandtown for improvements that focus on the themes of “clean, green, safe, and vibrant.”

“Improving the look of the Fayette St. corridor is one priority. It’s an important gateway. This is what people see when they drive by,” says Wetmore.

Stab, who has lived in East Baltimore since the 1980s, was happy to be part of a local art project, and he found that the children in Banner’s art club were more than eager to help him.

“There’s youthful excitement about big, oversized animals and paint squirting out of a can. It’s not hard to get kids excited when you’re working with spray paint,” he says.

The focus of the mural is on beautification of the neighborhood, but there’s an environmental message too.

“The lesson, about the connection between how clean we keep our community and how it affects the Bay, comes through, especially to the children,” says Wetmore.

Stab believes the mural has an even great message.

“Art has trans formative powers,” he says.“This part of the neighborhood is very commercial, very industrial. This part of the neighborhood is physically less connected to the community ‘betterment’ on the other side of [Patterson Park.] The mural bridges that disconnect a little.”

The Chesapeake Bay mural is just one part of the ongoing revitalization of the Fayette St. corridor and the Patterson Park Library Square area.

On April 25, the 22 linden trees on Library Square will receive a long overdue pruning.

“Bartlett Trees is doing the work pro bono. The tree pruning project was arranged in collaboration with the help of Amanda Cunningham at Baltimore Tree Trust,” explains Wetmore.

In recent months, residents interested in Library Square have held meetings to discuss other future improvements for the area.

“We had our second meeting last month. Twenty-six residents came out. We are calling the group Friends of Library Square,” Wetmore says.

The group has several goals for the Library Square, the first of which is exterior improvements and restoring evening lighting.

“The lights have not been working well for some time, at least a year. We’re working with the city to fix this,” Wetmore says.

Other near-future plans for Library Square include another mural and a native plant garden. “But that’s just for starters.There’s so much happening right now,” adds Wetmore. “There’s so much great energy over here.”

by Danielle Sweeney

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