This wall is the third mural for the Baltimore Love Project, an urban public art plan that Owen, the project's artist, and Burkholder, the project's executive director, hope to carry out in 20 spots across the city. Each mural will be alike — the same four large hands, painted black, spelling out LOVE.
Two murals have been completed so far — next to a creek in Mount Washington and on the Gwynns Falls Trail. Eventually, Baltimore Love Project murals won't just decorate idyllic trails, but will appear on walls in Pigtown and downtown, in Hollins Market and Broadway East. The pair plan to work on a fourth mural at the Sowebo Arts Festival at the end of the month.
"I don't have this grand idea that Baltimore will be transformed," said Owen, 27. "As I say on our website, I hope the walls go up and a guy sees it on his way home from work and picks up flowers for his girlfriend. Or that a mom pushing a kid in a stroller ... passes these and for one night doesn't abuse her kids."
Owen and Burkholder, who used to work together at Burkholder's interior paint business, won't make a lot of money from the project, but it is their primary focus. Each mural averages $3,000-$5,000 for donors to fund. Over the course of 20 murals — however long that takes — Owen likely will make $40,000; Burkholder, $20,000.
Owen doesn't have an idealistic notion that "Love" is the answer. But he believes in its power. "I'm personally finding that loving people the best you can is the most effective way to change things for good."