Elbe’s Mural Project
Please Tell Us Your Preference
Three artists from more than 50 muralists across Maryland were selected to create designs for the new mural on Elbe's Beer & Wine store in Wheaton. Below are images of their designs for your consideration. If you are able, please enlarge the images to appreciate the details and please let us know which one you prefer. The community's feedback will guide the Advisory Committee in its selection of the winning design. The deadline to submit your preference is April 5, 2023.
Design by Bridget Cimino
Design by Eric B. Ricks
Design by Cita Sadeli aka MISS CHELOVE
The following guidance was given to the artists to assist them in creating their designs.
We are looking for a beautiful work of art that local residents and visitors will enjoy as they walk or drive by on University Blvd or Grandview Ave, something that will make the people of Wheaton feel proud to display and that will let visitors know Wheaton is a community that values art.
The messages that the mural could communicate are as diverse as the Wheaton community. Therefore, the artist will need to make choices about how and whether to express these messages.
It is important that the mural communicate the cultural diversity of Wheaton. This can be done through images of people or through the designs and symbols and colors associated with diverse cultures. Many Wheaton neighborhoods are 50% Spanish speaking, but Wheaton also has a significant Asian and African and African-American population. Wheaton is also home to many white residents, some whose parents bought their first home here in the 1950s.
Some of the other mural messages that would be valued by the community are:
Wheaton’s History. For most of Wheaton’s history after Native Americans were forced out, the area around Wheaton was farmland, mills and the intersection of three roads: the road from Georgetown to Bladensburg, the road from DC to Baltimore and the road from this junction to the ferry across the Potomac to northern Virginia. These highways still define Wheaton. You can see Wheaton history here.
The Elbe’s Story. Elbe’s started soon after WWII when Wheaton experienced a baby boom, a housing boom and the construction of one of the DC area's largest shopping malls. Wheaton was, and still is “affordable.” People move here because they can afford to own a house or start a business here. As a result, Wheaton has become the launchpad for new arrivals and their American dreams, many of whom have come from Central and South America, from Asia, Africa and Central Europe. To serve these immigrant communities, restaurants were started and over time have given Wheaton a reputation around the region for its excellent ethnic restaurants.
The artist should consider incorporating images of Elbe’s origins as a “corner grocery store.” Some have even suggested painting images of founders Willie and Miriam Bobrow, but this is not a requirement, just a suggestion from the community. Old photo images can be seen here.
The design should consider the location and points of view from which the mural will be admired. Although people will be able to stand in front of it briefly for “selfies”, this will not be a place for gathering because it’s the driveway to the store. The best views will be from University Blvd eastbound whether in a car or on foot, and from Grandview Ave headed toward the Metro. Others will see the mural as they enter the store from the door on the far right corner of the building. The Elbe’s sign and the Md Lottery sign on the far left will remain, as will the small sign over the door. All other signage and ads will be removed and the wall will be prepped for the artists work. The artist should consider the entire wall as their canvas and they can design their mural to go from roof to driveway, around the signage or to the right of it. The artist can also design a rectangular mural if that shape is best suited to their design.
Planning is under way for new mural to be painted on the west wall of Elbe's Beer & Wine store on University Blvd near the intersection with Grandview Ave. The building owner and WAP signed a memorandum of understanding making the wall available for the mural.
Elbe's is one of the oldest business establishments in Wheaton. It has been family owned since 1951 when it was started as a neighborhood grocery store by Willie and Miriam Bobrow. Willie Bobrow served in the US Army in WWII and was stationed near the Elbe River, hence the name. The store is now run by their sons Andy and Jeff. The Bobrow family is not providing any funding for the project and has agreed to allow WAP to conduct a public call to artists to select the mural design. The Bobrows will have a voice in the selection process as a member of the advisory committee.
The planning process included an examination of the wall to determine if it is structurally sound and what repairs are needed prior to work on the mural. WAP convened a public meeting to present the project to the community and to the Urban District government. WAP gathered ideas for the mural design from the Wheaton community.
WAP assembled an advisory committee of businesses, residents and artists, WAP and the owner. Informed by the ideas generated in the public sessions and online, WAP issued a "Call to Artists" to submit their qualifications and letters of intent. The Advisory Committee selected three finalists to receive a $1,000 to prepare their design concepts. After the design concepts are submitted they will be shared with the public and community preferences will be collected online. The Advisory Committee will consider the community's preferences in selecting the winning design in time to submit a project grant application to the Maryland State Arts Council by the April 14 deadline. The proposed budget for the artist to create the mural is $40,000. Interested artists can apply by clicking on the link below and creating an account on publicartist.org.