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(From left), Sebastian Martorana of Station North, Steve Yeager of Canton, Michal Makarovich of Hampden and Alex Fox of Hampden have a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a monument to Divine. The shrine to the late actor will be placed near the site of an infamous scene in John Waters' film "Pink Flamingos."
(From left), Sebastian Martorana of Station North, Steve Yeager of Canton, Michal Makarovich of Hampden and Alex Fox of Hampden have a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a monument to Divine. The shrine to the late actor will be placed near the site of an infamous scene in John Waters' film "Pink Flamingos." (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

The design for a Divine Monument in Mount Vernon received the blessing of Baltimore's Public Art Commission last night, but now comes the tough part:

Raising the money to actually make it happen.

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So far, the group hoping to install a monument to the late actor, drag queen and pop-culture icon has raised less than $10,000 of the project's estimated $70,000 cost. Michal Makarovich, a Hampden and one of those spearheading the effort, says his group is getting a little nervous.

Fans in Baltimore want to build a monument to Divine at the site where he filmed the most notorious scene from John Waters' 'Pink Flamingos'

"We really love all the enthusiasm, but it's not translating into giving," he said, noting that the group's Kickstarter campaign, as of Thursday morning, had raised just over $9,100. "We love that people are supporting this, but it won't help if there aren't any donations."

The proposed monument to Divine would be about 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide and sit on the outside wall of a house near Read and Tyson streets.
The proposed monument to Divine would be about 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide and sit on the outside wall of a house near Read and Tyson streets. (Handout / Baltimore Sun)

The group initiated its Kickstarter campaign in late January. The proposed marble and concrete monument, planned for the outer wall of a building near the corner of Read and Tyson streets, would be an arch roughly 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The Tyson Street site was chosen because it's across the street from where the most infamous scene in Divine's film career — the one at the end of John Waters' "Pink Flamingos" where he makes a meal out of dog poop — was filmed.

The monument would feature a laser-etched portrait of Divine staring out from underneath the arch, which would be perched atop two classically Baltimore marble steps. A small bronze representation of the dog droppings would also rest upon the top step.

The proposal was embraced wholeheartedly Wednesday night by the art commission, just as it was when it was first brought before the members in September.

"It's a smart little monument," commission member Sandra Abbott said. "They have a smart game plan."

"It was unanimous," a delighted Makarovich said. "It was really cool."

Baltimore director John Waters and drag queen Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, share a light moment outside the Senator Theatre at the world premiere of "Hairspray."
Baltimore director John Waters and drag queen Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, share a light moment outside the Senator Theatre at the world premiere of "Hairspray." (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Divine, born Harris Glenn Milstead and raised in Towson and Lutherville, was a mainstay of Waters' films through 1988's "Hairspray." He also enjoyed an international career as a disco performer and drag queen. He died in 1988.

The monument would be funded entirely through private donations. The art commission approved the design of the monument Wednesday; a vote on accepting the monument as a gift to the city would come at a future meeting. Makarovich says his group plans to give $10,000 to the city in an escrow account, to help pay for the monument's upkeep.

But all those plans will be for naught, Makarovich noted, if the group's Kickstarter campaign doesn't reach its goal of $70,000 by the stated end date of March 26. Under Kickstarter rules, no money is dispersed to a campaign that doesn't reach its goal.

"We're in despair, some days, that this might not happen," Makarovich said.

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