It takes a village to make a mural
By Bob Guldin
A wide brick supermarket wall in the Takoma/Langley Crossroads will soon be decorated with a lively mural – to be created in part by people from the neighborhood.
The mural will be on Holton Lane near New Hampshire Ave., on the side of an ALDI supermarket, facing the Langley Park Post Office. The project is getting support from the City of Takoma Park and the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority (CDA) with the collaboration of local residents and the Krsko Creative Group.
The public art project is supported by the City’s Community Grants Program, and this will be the first public art in the Takoma/Langley commercial district in decades. The cost of the mural is expected to be $20,000; the City and the CDA will split the cost.
Melanie Isis, the director of the Takoma/Langley CDA, says “the mural will be a transformation” of the immediate environment. According to Isis, the lead artists, Peter Krsko and Alicia Cosnahan, “have done an enormous number of community murals,” including those on local restaurants El Golfo and El Gavilán.
The artists are inviting local residents and business owners to become part of mural-making and engage in all steps of the creative process, which will include development of preliminary sketches, art workshops and wall painting.
Community participation timeline
The CDA and the lead artists have planned a series of community workshops and painting sessions. The first was held Sept. 24, to present the mural theme and get feedback on the sketch. Meetings will be at 1335 Holton Lane. Upcoming mural events are:
- Oct. 15, 6-8 p.m. Community meeting to introduce the final mural sketch based on previous feedback
- Oct. 16, 4-8 p.m. First community work session to prime the wall
- Oct. 17, 10 a.m.–noon Community art workshop
- Oct. 21 through Nov. 18 Community paint session every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The owner of the ALDI property, JBGR Retail, is providing a temporary art studio across the street from the mural at 1335 Holton Lane for community meetings, workshops and art making.
The artist team will update the public on the mural project and invite the media to see the progress through on-site interviews, color photos and video for TV. They also plan to invite people to painting sessions and to the unveiling, which will include a party to celebrate completion.
The artist leading the project, Peter Krsko, and his partner Alicia Cosnahan, who works in arts education in the public schools, have already been visiting the neighborhood, chatting with people and doing research. Krsko, who comes from the former Czechoslovakia, says they have learned that the area is known as an international corridor with lots of small businesses and more than 100 different nationalities living nearby. Those themes will be embodied in the mural.
However, Krsko says, overall they plan to “focus more on where you’re going, the direction for the future, with a positive emphasis.”
For more information on the mural, contact Melanie Isis at 301-445-7910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.