"In the end," Owens says, "we've got something with three individual parts screened on top of each other so that it becomes one piece."

"I was blown away when I saw our cinder block wall," Momo says. "Somehow the different parts were just enough to play off each other well."

Recently Gaia and Momo were outside, up on a scaffold, spray-painting the horse and using housepaint to fill Momo's stripes. Owen handled the lower end of the stripe from the sidewalk.

All three were covered in paint. Music blasted from a boombox.

The mural, which covers the East Avenue side of the Creative Alliance, stretching from roof to sidewalk, became a neighborhood focal point well before it was finished — an impossible-to-miss tableau for riders of the No. 13 bus.

A young man in camouflage pants bicycling past gave it a double take — twice — before pedaling on his way. A woman who works in a business across the street kept her eye on it while sitting on a smoke break. Someone all but stopped their car in the middle of the street to have a look.

The Creative Alliance commissioned the trio to create the piece. Megan Hamilton, the organization's program director, loves the artists' "crazy young energy" and hopes it will not only draw young people to the Alliance but continue to engage people from the neighborhood.

"Our raison d'etre is to create art that's contextualized in the history and dialogue of the neighborhood," she says. This piece is "really rooted in a sense of place."


If you go

ZimZum: Gaia, Michael Owen and Momo

When: Opens Saturday, Sept. 15, with a reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then a Sweatboxx dance party in the space featuring Baltimore club music starting at 9 p.m. The show runs through Oct. 27.

Where: Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., Highlandtown.

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