Dr. Bob's Life Has Changed Course

13 May 2004

21st Century Radio News -Click here for more articles like this.

Dear Friends and Co-workers,

I decided to post this open letter on our website to help justify why I must decline so many of your invitations to become involved in your projects these days. Just before my 60th birthday last September, I took my son to see one of my most important outdoor murals, “The All America City Mural”, located in Baltimore’s Locust Point en route to Fort McHenry (the home of the Star-Spangled Banner). To my great shock and dismay, in place of the 40x60 foot mural we found a blank wall! We discovered it had been recklessly painted over by a contracting company a few months earlier without so much as a phone call to let me know it was happening. Although I am in the process of negotiating to rectify this error of judgment and arrange to repaint the mural, it turned out that this crushing disappointment was just the beginning of a series of tribulations in respect to maintaining the longevity of my art work.

I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to read a little about this new string of life lessons that has changed the direction of both my waking and sleeping consciousness until further notice.

In addition to “The All America City Mural”, I am negotiating on the restoration, renovation or resurrection of three of my other murals, all at the same time. At the League for People with Disabilities my “History of Coldspring” mural is being threatened by new building expansion plans -- the interior wall on which it is painted is slated for demolition. The League is working with me on plans to have it photographed and reproduced either on a metal or canvas sheet to then be mounted in another location of the building. I have yet to be shown verification that all the original detail and color will be reproduced exactly as in the original, and the future location is less than satisfactory to my mind.

Then we have both of my two indoor murals at the Johns Hopkins University to worry about. The 2,700 square foot “The Apocalypse” is located in Levering Hall where the JHU Center for Social Concern is currently housed. Their work and lack of space have added to the wear and tear of the years causing great damage to my most important piece. Chipping plaster, peeling paint and poor lighting have taken their toll and the entire 2,700 square feet needs a total renovation.

My other indoor Johns Hopkins mural “The Lord’s Prayer” was removed from the Graduate Club several years ago, when that building underwent renovation and expansion. Ever since, I have not known about its whereabouts and safety, but after some help from Bill Tiefenwerth at the Center for Social Concern, we think we have found it located it in a storage facility. I hope to visit it in the coming weeks to verify its preservation.

Watching the opposition facing my old murals made me try to find the best documentation I ever had of them in their pristine state: a documentary created for PBS by WMPT-TV in Maryland called “Artist of Savitria”. This half hour program was very popular in 1971 when it was shown repeatedly, not only on WMPT but even across the nation, so I figured WMPT would have a negative this film in their archives, or at least know where one was! Imagine my surprise to learn that any print of this work has literally disappeared from their shelves. Without this most important negative, the only moving images of “The Apocalypse” and “The Lord’s Prayer” in their pristine conditions are forever lost. I haven’t given up my research to locate the negative, but I have my work cut out for me.

Any one of these projects to save, restore or completely repaint my artwork would be a commitment of six months to a year to execute properly, and I am juggling four mural projects simultaneously, while still continuing with my weekly radio broadcasts, family and work routines, and my many volunteer committees. I won’t deaden your sensitivity to my predicaments by giving you any more examples of the challenges I am facing, but I cannot over emphasize what it feels like to undergo this demolition derby. Somehow I must organize all these projects, raise funds to complete them, and find the time in my already busy schedule to negotiate with the various people in control of the murals to meet these challenges.

I hope you can appreciate why my life course has to change at this point, and why I must decline many invitations to sit on boards or committees or become involved in this new media project or that new research team. This is my “life work” under threat, and I must reclaim what was once my best and most important work. And at the same time I have begun to listen to those who love me and am repatterning myself to slow down and smell the roses. After further tests following a minor cancer scare I also have the most important restoration project of them all underway. Stress has left its marks on me, and I must rebuild my health. From this perspective, little else has much importance. Your understanding of this series of challenges would make it easier for me to do what must be done, and your patience and prayers would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Click here to see many examples of my murals and other art work in the Hieronimus Art Gallery.

Aloha and Shalom,
Bob Hieronimus, Ph.D.
May 13, 2004

21st Century Radio News -Click here for more articles like this.

  21st Century Radio-HOME

Hieronimus & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 648, Owings Mills, MD 21117 USA
Voice Mail: (410) 356-4852 Fax: (410) 356-6229