ELKTON — Local artists will leave a refreshed mark on Elkton this summer, as the Cecil County Arts Council is focused on reviving old murals and painting new ones in various spots across the county seat.
Starting last week, the CCAC and volunteers started the careful work of restoring two murals on West Main Street in Elkton, while another artist began bringing images from beloved children’s books to life on the Elkton Central Library’s entrance.
The project, funded with $8,200 in Maryland State Arts Council grants so far, is intended to breathe new life into weathered murals and blank walls. Annemarie Hamilton, CCAC executive director, was inspired after MSAC announced it was working on a film project and asked to showcase some of the work in Cecil County.
“I went to take some photos of our existing murals and I realized what a bad condition they were in. They looked hideous. It’s something you don’t notice after time, because you see it every day, but once you’re close you really can see it cracked,” Hamilton told the Whig. “The [town’s] Arts and Entertainment District should have boast-able art.”
To that end, Hamilton approached the owners of the buildings with the two murals, Oasis Hair Salon at 113 W. Main St. and Main Street Pizza & Steak Shop at 124 W. Main St., to ask if they were interested in restoring them.
Last weekend, volunteers started to gently chip at the aged mural on 124 W. Main St. to start the restoration process. The mural is a sepia tone scene, was painted in 2006, and includes Elkton’s mayor sitting in a 1920s-style car, the old Singerly mansion (now Union Hospital) and the Immaculate Conception Church and more.
Parts of this mural are salvageable, so an artist is going to preserve as much of the existing work as possible and will continue to add more images along the length of the building. The additions will match the existing mural’s style and include other images from Cecil County’s history, like Rev. Duke’s Log Cabin and the LTC James Victor McCool Armory.
On the rear of the building, facing Howard Street, there will be a new mural painted with bright colors, music notes and the slogan “the Arts are Alive.”
“The hope for this mural facing Howard Street is to give it some love and something attractive. Six months a year, we have Little League games, and with more things happening on Howard Street, hopefully, it’ll inspire others to do more back there as well,” Hamilton said.
Across the street, there are plans in the works to redo the mural on 113 W. Main St. That mural featured whales swimming in water, but became faded over time and the paint flaked off. But if the project is approved from the town Historic District Commission, building owner and Tidewater Tattoo Studio owner Rob Massimiano will work on restoring it with a navy blue silhouette.
Finally, mixed media artist Curt Lang will paint a colorful, three-dimensional piece of art outside the entrance of the Elkton library. The background of the mural will be green and blues, with animals spotted in the painted clouds. Giant “books” will be hung on the walls, each representing a beloved classic novel like “Harry Potter,” “Dracula,” and “Aladdin.”
Images from each book will be airbrushed and sculpted onto the giant “books,” and a well-known quote from each book will be written on the wall.
The Elkton murals will come together in the next few weeks, leaving the CCAC time to explore possibilities to bring art in a smaller venue. The CCAC is working on mini-murals to be painted on fire hydrants in every town in Cecil County, starting with Cecilton and Rising Sun.