BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Thousands of motorists pass by it every day on one of Baltimore's busiest thoroughfares. Now, as Ron Matz reports, there's whale watching near M &T Bank Stadium.
You can see Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, but across the street there's whale watching.
Tuesday morning, the mayor cut the ribbon, re-dedicating the iconic gray whales mural painted more than 20 years ago by the artist known as Wyland.
"We're re-dedicating this mural that is a part of an international expression of art," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "It's understandable that after a few years a girl might need a facelift, .so it looks like this was a wonderful facelift that was given."
"Over the years the mural faded. It chipped. We had graffiti. It started to degrade over time," said Shawn James, Mural Masters Inc.
The Mural Masters performed the facelift with help from two Baltimore companies.
"Thanks to St. John Properties and Capital Tristate, they brought my company into the project," James said. "It was a daunting task to restore it. We washed the entire wall. We chipped all the paint off, sealed it, and then re-painted the entire mural. It took a little over three weeks."
This salute to marine life was completed in the heat of summer.
"Bringing people's attention to nature and the ocean is what Wyland was after. I'm after that in my artwork as well. I paint a lot of nature and underwater scenes. It was great to be working with him, next to and on top of him and it's in Baltimore," said Charles Lawrance, Mural Masters Inc.
The mayor says she's happy to put her signature on the project.
"This is something that has been seen by millions of people. It means a lot to a lot of people. It's a great iconic work in Baltimore," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
"We have murals appearing throughout the city," she added. "Wholeheartedly believe it brings vibrancy, culture and uniqueness to Baltimore. I'm grateful this mural has been restored."
LED lighting has been installed, so the mural will be illuminated at night.
"I've lived in the city for 15 years and I've driven past here so many times," James said. "I've seen so many Wyland murals. It's great to be part of a bigger project. I know I'm contributing back to my city and so many people will enjoy this for generations to come."
"I believe in the power of art to transform communities," the mayor said. "I love when I go and see one of these murals. It speaks to unique and sometimes quirkiness of Baltimore, and we get to display it in grand style with these murals."
The mural measures 5200 square feet. It was 46th in a series of 100 murals painted around the world by the artist known as Wyland.
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