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Feb. 1, 2006

Fundraiser held for Silver Spring art project

by Mary Donahue, Online Managing Features Editor
The design plans for the Arts on the Block Gateway Underpass Project was unveiled at a fundraiser held in Silver Spring. Jackie's Restaurant and Lounge hosted the event on Monday, Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. The money raised by the fundraiser will go towards buying supplies to build the mural.
The Silver Spring-based Arts on the Block program unveiled their designs for the Underpass Project during a fundraiser held at Jackie's Restaurant and Lounge on Monday, Jan 30. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards supplies needed to complete the project.

<i>Photo courtesy of Adrian Meshad</i>
The Silver Spring-based Arts on the Block program unveiled their designs for the Underpass Project during a fundraiser held at Jackie's Restaurant and Lounge on Monday, Jan 30. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards supplies needed to complete the project. Photo courtesy of Adrian Meshad


Arts on the Block is an on-the-job training program for Montgomery County high school students that gives aspiring artists a chance to work with professionals. The Underpass Project, a mural that will cover the Georgia Avenue and Blair Mill Road underpass, is the first public art project to be done by the Arts on the Block program. "It's just a great experience. To be able to work with famous artists," said junior Benjamin Meyer, "I feel like a rock star."

At the event, an elaborate poster board displayed the designs for the project, which will have a transportation theme. Images of a trolley, a train, a car and the metro will be the centerpieces for the design. "Transportation plays a key role in the development of the community," said the lead artist, muralist Byron Peck. "It's an important theme that we hope to show in this project."

Twelve students, including 11 Blazers, will work over the next few months on the first phase of the project. They will be joined by additional Arts on the Block students to complete the mural during May or June of this year. The students will create the mural in small panels at the Arts on the Block studio located in downtown Silver Spring and mount the panels along the walls of the underpass.

Barbara Duncan, wife of County Executive Doug Duncan, spoke at the fundraiser, expressing her belief that art is an important part of the community. "The arts are so encompassing," said Duncan, "they bring conversation to all ages. It's so great to see all these kids working on this project."

Iman Shabazz, junior Tiffani Gomez's mother, agreed with Duncan and described the project as a "gateway of opportunity" for the students. "This [experience] will follow them throughout their lives. They are touching a landmark that will always be there," Shabazz said.



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  • quail on February 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM
    is it strictly visual art or does it also include other types of art?
  • 06 on February 4, 2006 at 6:17 PM
    visual art. its a fun program. i was in it in the past. my friend is working on the project. I wish the school would have put up more posters for people interested, I only saw one in the counselors office all the way in the back.
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