Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mural marks a ‘Turning Point’ for young artists

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A dedication ceremony for the mural on the retaining wall at Piney Branch Road and New Hampshire Avenue will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at 101 Southampton Drive in Silver Spring.

The event culminates months of work by more than a dozen out-of-school youths who were enlisted by local nonprofit groups Arts on the Block and the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers to design and paint the mural under the direction of local artist Carien Quiroga.

‘‘It’s been under discussion for over a year, so yeah, we are excited,” said Jan Goldstein, director of Arts on the Block. ‘‘It’s the fruits of many, many people’s labors.”

Installation of the more than 500-foot-long mural, which features the sun, moon, comets and other heavenly bodies, was completed last week. Organizers hope the ‘‘Two County Turning Point Mural Project” will deter graffiti tagging on the retaining wall and improve the look of the area around the border of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Another aim of the project was to provide job skills to the young artists involved, Goldstein said. Several of them were able to find jobs while earning a stipend through the project, she said.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park and Prince George’s County Councilman David C. Harrington (D-Dist. 5) of Cheverly are scheduled to attend the dedication, Goldstein said.

Other sponsors of the project include Maryland International Corridor C-SAFE, the Montgomery and Prince George’s county police departments, the Prince George’s County Arts Council and the Weed and Seed Program. The rain date is June 18.