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Berlin’s Arts & Entertainment Committee seeks three murals

(Oct. 8, 2015) Berlin’s Arts & Entertainment Committee is in the preliminary stages of bringing three new outdoor murals to downtown Berlin.
The Visitor’s Center, the Barrett Building and Bruder Hill will serve as the canvases, with an estimated cost of $2,500 each, according to committee Chairwoman Heather Layton.
Layton said an anonymous donor would pay for the first installation, while Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells is assisting the group with a state grant proposal that could cover the cost of a second mural.
“We’re looking at the Visitor’s Center first, and we actually found a mural artist,” Layton said. “He travels all over and he specializes in community murals.”
Layton said the concept is to depict five phases of Berlin’s history using a seasonal motif for each panel of the building and moving from Victorian Berlin to the present day.
Local school children will help come up with the concept, adding an outreach component to the mural, Layton added.
“The artist will actually go to Buckingham [Elementary] and ask, ‘what does community mean to you?’” she said. “What he plans is the first section will be the historic aspect of Berlin and then it’s going to gradually, seasonally change into modern Berlin. And it’s going to incorporate the Bathtub Races, Fiddler’s Convention, landmarks, things that Berlin is known for.”
The artist, John Donato, painted a legacy mural at the Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Ocean Pines last year.
Layton said she and committee member Robin Tomaselli recently visited the school to view the mural.    
“It’s just awesome,” Layton said. “They did that last year and the teachers and kids are still so incredibly excited about it, and they walk past it every day.”
One of the stipulations for being a designated A&E district is having public art, Layton said, and the group has been working on bringing outdoor murals to Berlin for more than two years.
The committee sought preliminary approval of the project from the historic commission on Wednesday, after press time. The next step, if all goes well, will be to seek approval by the Town Council.
Layton said the project could begin as soon as this winter, with Donato working on each panel at Buckingham Elementary. The students would have plenty of input, she said.
“We’re really excited,” Tomaselli said. “If I had my way, I would give the kids paint brushes and tell them to go out there tonight.”