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Mural a mosaic of Barclay School's community identity

Visitors to the Barclay School in Charles Village will see a mosaic mural above the front doors at 2900 Barclay St.

The art project was funded with an $8,000 grant from PNC Bank and additional money from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. A community artist designed it with help from area residents, including children from Barclay and Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle.

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Paying homage to the history of the school and surrounding communities such as Charles Village and Abell, the mural depicts a wide range of historical items, from horse-drawn carriages to trolleys and baseballs representing the Orioles.

The mural was unveiled at a ceremony Sept. 22, organized by the Greater Homewood Community Corp., and attended by 75 parents, children, educators, community leaders and elected officials, including City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and State Del. Mary Washington. Also on hand was Barclay Principal Jenny Heinbaugh.

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Made of glass and ceramics, the mural is also a testament to "how far we've come," said the community artist, Tamara Payne, a 2011 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and a resident of nearby Harwood.

For example, the school, originally called School No. 115, was the first public school in Baltimore to employ a black teacher, officials said.

The idea for a mural was conceived about three years ago, and work began in earnest last spring, led by Payne, local historian Jo Ann Robinson of Abell, and Marc Francis, an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer for Greater Homewood.

"The beautiful reality of it today speaks to what it means to be a community school," said Kelly Oglesbee, community school coordinator for the Barclay School.

When a blue tarp covering the mural was pulled off, Chase Sterling, 4, a pre-kindergarten student at Brent, immediately recognized a person she had drawn on paper.

The image was cut out, transferred to clay and etched into the mural, said Chase's mother, Stephanie Sterling.

Carla Hobson, of Mount Washington, said her daughter, Lulu, a kindergartner at Barclay School, worked on tiles for the mural.

"She'll be able to come here every day and see what she did," Hobson said.


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