Local artist Bridget Cimino, 31, has added a portrait of a former resident to the 200 block of S. Durham St.
In “Lady Day Rises Over Baltimore,” Billie Holiday’s dynamic face rises in bright colors over a gray city. The mural is on the west side of S. Durham St., just south of the Pratt St. intersection.
The work of art is part of the Billie Holiday Project, an initiative of the Upper Fell’s Point Improvement Association to both beautify the 200 block of S. Durham St. and make it a tourist destination honoring its most famous resident.
“When we were doing the grant, Steve Schwei [Billie Holiday Project leader] asked us to somehow incorporate Billie Holiday’s time in Baltimore into the painting,” explains Cimino. “I looked into her biography, and everything that happened to her in Baltimore was terrible.”
So Cimino depicted the singer transcending her circumstances.
“Her nickname is Lady Day, so I depicted her rising like the sun over Baltimore.”
In addition to painting murals, Cimino, who lives in Ednor Gardens, also creates portraits and illustrations. Her work may be seen at bridgetciminoartist.com.
Cimino admits that while she is “more of an Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone kind of person,” she appreciates Holiday.
“She has more of an instrumental voice, rather than a fully forceful singing voice,” Cimino says.
by Erik Zygmont