The College Park City-University Partnership is working to install a mural on a prominent upper-story façade along Baltimore Avenue near the intersection with Knox Road.
The Partnership’s work is grounded in smart growth initiatives that aim for a vibrant, walkable, environmentally-friendly community. We are making College Park a top 20 university community. One of the ways we seek to create a stronger, livelier downtown and sense of place is through art that reflects the College Park and University communities.
This project, completed with support from the Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority and the City of College Park, will transform the most visible and prominent façade in downtown College Park, signal to residents, visitors, and other business owners that the Baltimore Avenue corridor in College Park is an interesting destination for arts, culture, and businesses, and more.
About the artists, Cory Stowers and Jason Philp.
Cory Stowers is an award winning multi-disciplined creative artist from Hyattsville, Maryland. His resume includes credited projects in the fields of visual art, recorded music, film, scholarly writings and education relating to public art. He began his art career as a graffiti writer in 1994. He cofounded the Double Down Kings, a graffiti crew which has hosted free instructional classes on graffiti art for the past twenty-years and have contributed to more than 50 public mural commissions.
In 2015, Stowers founded ART BLOC DC, and was awarded the Public Arts Building Communities Grant from the Washington DC Commission on Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). They used the funds to create the first interactive public mural in the United States by utilizing a free use Augmented Reality application to make the mural “live” with video and audio content accessible via mobile device. Stowers was honored in 2016 as the recipient of the DCCAH Artist Fellowship Award in the Literary Arts, for his academic writings on graffiti art and street culture. Stowers was honored once again as the recipient of the DCCAH Artists Fellowship Award in the Visual Arts, and the Mayors Award for Artistic Excellence in 2018.
Jason Philp is a multi-media artist, also from Hyattsville, Maryland. He first discovered his passion for art at Northwestern High School where he began to develop his skills as an illustrator. Philp joined the Double Down Kings in 2002 and began working on projects with fellow members helping to create dozens of murals in Washington, DC.
About the mural, “Psychophily” – pollination by butterfly. For more than 100-years, College Park has been planting the seeds of conservation. This mural is an ode to the contributions made by the city and university, toward protecting our environment. Psychophily honors the role of pollination in our ecosystem, with the aim of drawing attention to the plight of the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.
The Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). The turtle is a sacred figure in Native American symbolism as it represents Mother Earth. The meaning of the Turtle symbol signifies good health and long life. The turtle has great longevity living up to 150 years. According to Native American legends and myths of the Eastern Woodland tribes the turtle played a part in their Creation myth. The Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth. The hard shell of the turtle represents perseverance and protection.
The Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) was designated the state flower of Maryland in 1918. In this capacity it is used in gardens and ceremonies to celebrate, memorialize and show affection for the state of Maryland and its people. The Black-Eyed Susan has traditionally symbolized “Justice.”
University of Maryland’s vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly Habitat Restoration. The Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly (Euphydryas phaeton) is named for George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, because its orange and black colors match those on his heraldic shield. In 1973, the Baltimore checkerspot was named the official insect of Maryland. Baltimore checkerspot caterpillars (larvae) feed almost exclusively on white turtlehead (Chelone glabra), especially in the summer when the caterpillars are small.
The Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly is one of the many pollinators struggling with habitat loss. Once abundant throughout Maryland, the checkerspot population has declined over the past decades due to the decline of their host plant, the white turtlehead.
The white turtlehead is subject to over grazing by deer, urban expansion, and competition from invasive plant species. Turtlehead plots around campus are part of a larger effort to reintroduce the Baltimore Checkerspot to the area. Since 2016, UMD has worked to help stave off extinction of this native species of pollinators.
Residents can stay up to date on the mural’s progress at: https://collegeparkpartnership.org/tag/downtowncpmural/