Community Paints New Mural in Latrobe Park

Peninsula residents of all ages came out Saturday, April 23 to help artist Nicole Buchholz (on tarp) create a mural on the historic Longhouse structure. All photos by Mary Braman.

Residents of Locust Point and the greater peninsula gathered on April 23 in Latrobe Park to participate in the painting of the new mural on the park’s historic Longhouse. This is the first part of a multi-phase plan to renovate the park and adjacent areas with a focus on celebrating the park’s history.

The mural, designed by local artist Nicole Buchholz, will provide residents with a welcoming and colorful focal point that celebrates Locust Point’s maritime and industrial history.

Local artist Nicole Buchholz outlines the mural on the Longhouse in advance of the community painting day.

Latrobe Park, designed in 1904 by Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects, has seen over one hundred years of Baltimore’s history as the area turned from a humming industrial hub to a thriving residential neighborhood. The park was designed as a green space to serve the working-class neighborhoods of Locust Point and promote physical and mental health. As the years passed, the park grew with the addition of tennis courts and a dog park.

The new renovations and upgrades celebrate the Olmsted Bicentennial, where parks across the country celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted’s contributions to urban planning, natural preservation, public health and emergency relief.

The design of the mural itself and the process in which it is being painted embody community-oriented values that are part of the Olmsted legacy. Involving community volunteers in the painting process added an extra layer of ownership and engagement to the project. Now, whenever Locust Point residents who participated wander through the park, they can see the mural and know they helped contribute to its creation.

Nicole spent a week painting the basic outline of the mural before volunteers took to painting it with bright colors on April 23. She spent the following week embellishing what the volunteers painted, touching up, and finalizing the rest of the mural. Nicole, who has also painted a mural in Riverside Park, has a background in urban planning. On this project she worked closely with the Locust Point Civic Association and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.

The next phase of the park renovation after completion of the Longhouse mural includes adding colorful picnic tables to bolster the seating area and restoring the structure’s roof. The Longhouse was built to create some shade for parents watching their children play nearby. There are also plans to expand the children’s playground and integrate natural play structures with locally sourced materials. This playground area will feature equipment designed for an older age group (ages 7-12).

Painting of the mural is expected to be completed on April 30. Be sure to stop by and see it. – John Thomas

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