BY KRISSI HUMBARD — Update: This event has been postponed to May 20 due to weather. The West Hyattsville Metro Station is about to burst onto the public art scene.
On Saturday, May 20, the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) is hosting “Bursting on the Scene,” a community mural event. Residents are invited to paint with professional muralists Cory Stowers and Henry Portillo of ART BLOC DC, to create two paint-by-numbers murals on the underpass at the West Hyattsville Metro Station.
“Bursting on the Scene” will feature an original design by Stowers and Portillo, with vibrant, space-warping geometric forms: arrows, stars, psychedelic waves, and telephone poles. The artists’ designs were chosen by juried selection from a pool of 28 submissions by 18 area artists.
The mural project has been two years in the making, said Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville CDC. The project is being done in collaboration with Washington Metro Transit Area Authority Arts in Transit, which aims to install artwork that captures the spirit and vitality of the region, making travel by Metro more attractive and inviting. The mural will be the first public work of art produced for the 24-year-old metro station.
“I am truly appreciative of the CDC’s efforts to engage the West Hyattsville community in a collaborative public art project,” said Councilmember Jospeh Solomon (Ward 5). “Convincing metro has been a two-year planning process; however the community is extremely excited and ready to place a unique and attractive look on the central transportation hub for the region.”
The event is billed as a fun and engaging way to beautify a popular but plain public space. “We wanted to do some place-making in a spot you otherwise just kind of walk by,” said Justin Fair, the economic development coordinator at the Hyattsville CDC.
Artists will help guide participants during the mural painting. Stowers said the design’s focus on bold, graphic elements make it easy for anyone to reproduce. “The kids will be able to be on the wall with us,” he said. “We’re hoping to engage as many people as possible.”
Stowers said spray paint and brush paint will both be used. If you’ve ever wanted to grab a paint can and tag a wall, this is your chance. Stowers said he and other artists will help older kids and adults spray paint the mural.
This will be the first mural project in Prince George’s County for Stowers and Portillo. Well, the first commissioned art project. Stowers grew up in Hyattsville and is a founding member of the Double Down Kings, a crew of graffiti writers, musicians, and creative artists. Stowers said he tagged the metro underpass when he was younger. Portillo grew up in the area and lives in Prince George’s County.
There was no resident requirement in the call for artists. Eisenberg called the choice of Stowers and Portillo “a happy coincidence.”
“Cory and his team have a great feel for this area,” Eisenberg added.
Along with the live mural painting, residents can enjoy local music by 7DrumCity, participate in children’s craft activities led by Artist & Craftsman Supply, and talk with representatives from the city and businesses, including the developers of the Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro. Healthy Fool food truck will have food for sale.
“The proposed art design reflects the revitalization and transformation of the West Hyattsville metro area for years to come,” Solomon said. “I hope to see future art projects in the area, and a further investment from the city in incentivizing art initiatives across the city.”
The event is free, open to the public, and all ages are invited to paint. The event runs noon-5 p.m. Supplies will be provided. The event is bilingual. Guests are encouraged to bring bottled water, sunscreen, and outdoor chairs and blankets to enjoy the music. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by and under the supervision of an adult.