Muralist Transforms Vacant Homes In East Baltimore Into Works Of Art
BALTIMORE (WJZ)–It’s the talk of one neighborhood in East Baltimore. It’s the work of an artist amidst a sea of vacant homes on East Eager Street.
Ron Matz has more on a message in a mural.
The massive Eager Street mural is across 35 vacant houses. The message is in big bold letters: “FOREVER TOGETHER.”
“Forever together. I guess it means for everybody in the neighborhood we’re all family. We all come together as one. We’re all going to remember this. We’re going to have fun, together forever,” said Yazmin Burns, a Montford Avenue resident.
It is the work of artist Stephen Powers who will be doing 5-10 different murals across the city.
“This is a huge undertaking from Steve Powers, an internationally recognized mural artist from Philadelphia. He was in town a couple of weeks ago doing sight visits and meeting with community members. We thought it would be fun to have him do one mural at the end of this block. As soon as he got here he walked down the block and said, ‘Can we do all of this?'” said C. Ryan Patterson, public art administrator for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
It is a love letter to Baltimore with a message.
“Steve Powers’ real specialty is making love letters to a city from a city. He doesn’t just come up with the writing on his own. He works with neighbors and residents to write those stories,” Patterson said.
Powers painted the mural over two weekends.
“He’s got a great crew, and they know what they’re doing. He knew what he wanted it to look like and got it out quick,” Patterson said.
The vacant houses will be gone soon. They will be torn down over the next several months.
“The community has been fighting to have these houses torn down for quite a while. They have been working with the housing department to do it. They’ll tear these down starting at the far end and salvage what they can. Once the houses are down they are going to make it a children’s park with green space,” Patterson said.
“We own a house here. It’s a step that they’re finally tearing these other houses down. This will help the neighborhood rise up. It’s a good thing. Overall, it’s been time, it’s been a long time,” said Joseph Artis, homeowner.
So far, the project is getting rave reviews from neighbors like Stephanie Johnson.
“I think it’s very nice that they did this to the community. It looks real pretty,” Johnson said.
It’s not always pretty in East Baltimore. Vacant houses are a familiar sight.
The mural is temporary, but the message is not.
“We want to sell Baltimore, so these murals are going up along transit corridors. We are along the Amtrak line, so it is visible from the train. We are also going to work down in South Baltimore near 295, so when you are coming in you know there is something happening here,” Patterson said.
Powers was paid $1,000 for his expenses, which he plans to donate to the Ashland Avenue Association. He will begin work on his other city murals in September.
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