Who knew that brick walls could be made so alive?
The granddaddy of Baltimore’s outdoor art scene, the city’s mural program has spent the past 25 years turning walls into works of art. Since 1987, some 175 murals have popped up throughout the city. These vibrantly colorful islands of artistic creativity and neighborhood pride range from the puckish (a group of swine on a Pigtown wall) to the inspirational (Thurgood Marshall, Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. and other African-American leaders on the side of a house in Marble Hill).
“What these artists are doing is kind of like magic,” says Bob Hieronimus, a longtime Baltimore muralist, author and radio-show host whose work decorates a wall outside the Safe and Smart Center in Waverly, the neighborhood where he grew up. “Their work really uplifts certain neighborhoods; they become proud of them.
In fact, the outdoor art movement is gaining momentum throughout the city. Earlier this week, Walters Art Museum officials announced a plan to install reproductions of 21 pieces from their collection at outdoor sites throughout the city. And Saturday, Highlandtown’s Creative Alliance is unveiling “Zim Zum,” and outdoor- and indoor-art exhibition featuring the work of street artists Gaia, Michael Owen and MOMO.
We asked officials from the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, which oversees the mural program, to pick out their favorites. Ten are featured here; the whole list of 50, along with an interactive map showing where to find them, can be found at baltimoresun.com/entertainment.
“A Little Help from Our Friends” the 27 foot x 67 foot mural located at Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Volunteer Services. Artist Dr. Bob Hieronimus, August 1996. “Our Friends” included: Mahatma Gandhi, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Liu Gang, ET, Yellow Submarine, Rachel Carson, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, Robert Levi and Leon Day.