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June 11, 2006

Silver Spring mosaic revealed at ceremony

by Mary Donahue, Online Managing Features Editor
"The Silver Pass" public art project was held at the Georgia Avenue and Blair Mill Road intersection this Friday. The project, which incorporated the efforts of 11 Blazers, includes four large mosaics and more than 300 feet of painted panels.

"The Silver Pass" was done by the "Arts on the Block" program, 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" was the first public art project to be done by the "Arts on the Block" program and was started on during Jan. this year.

In a public ceremony, the apprentice artists and Jan Goldstein, the "Arts and Block" director, unveiled the mural and presented certificates to various sponsors and to the artists themselves. The mural, which covers both sides of the Georgia Avenue underpass, is composed of 58 square panels painted in blues, reds and greens. It features six small rectangular mosaics as well as four larger mosaics on each end, all done with an art deco motif. The large mosaics each depict a different mode of transportation so that the mural can incorporate some of Silver Spring's history, according to lead artist muralist Byron Peck.
A collage of Silver Spring mosaic pictures. Mary Donahue
A collage of Silver Spring mosaic pictures.


The ceremony, which was forced to move into Moorenko's Ice Cream Cafe due to the weather, featured speeches from Goldstein, Peck, co-lead artist Carien Quiroga and honorary guest Barbara Duncan. Other honorary guests included State Senate candidate Jamie Raskin and State Delegate candidate Aaron Klein. "I remember when this place was not as nice," said Klein, "and it is so personally gratifying to see the progress we have made. I think this [project] is a great thing."

The "Underpass Project" was actually worked on by both the original "Arts on the Block" program, which made individual mosaic pieces under the direction of Quiroga, and the direction of Peck's group of artists. The two branches of "Arts on the Block" merged together in Feb. to finish the mural. The Underpass part of the program was a group of 12 students, 11 of whom were from Blair. "This was a great experience," said junior Melanie Samuels, "and it's great that this [ceremony] will get people to recognize the mural. Hopefully they will be able to appreciate it better."

Peck mentioned during the ceremony that the mural was the first part of a three-stage project which will all focus on redecorating the underpass and train station above it. He hopes next to decorate the vertical columns supporting the bridge.



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  • former AOB apprentice on June 11, 2006 at 8:02 PM
    yay! i'm glad this turned out so well. I totally miss Carien and the other people!
  • quail on June 12, 2006 at 11:44 AM
    pretty colors.... *hypnotized*

    did the artists actually cut out each individual piece of glass? i did that for a latin project a couple years ago and got really bad blisters on my fingers.
  • Armin Rosen on June 16, 2006 at 8:23 PM
    I cannot believe they got rid of the penguins. This is an outrage. Silver Spring just lost whatever little remained of its soul.
  • Armin Rosen on June 16, 2006 at 8:24 PM
    Oh wait. It's the Georgia Avenue underpass. Never mind. Silver Spring's soul is still intact. For now...
  • C.S. on June 18, 2006 at 12:06 AM
    They temporarily removed the penguins to repair/restore them. They can't just get rid of something like that, even if people are ruining the rest of Silver Spring.
  • elsbeth (View Email) on June 23, 2006 at 10:41 AM
    Armin, you got me upset for a second there. what would Silver Spring be without the penguins??????????????
  • um....... on July 1, 2006 at 8:45 PM
    While they are black and white like penguins, those birds are no
  • 07XMen on July 20, 2006 at 6:54 PM
    Great story, the picture is also very nice as well.
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