In April 2008, Dr. Bob Hieronimus was contacted by Baltimore Green Construction and Rebuilding Together Baltimore inviting him to participate in renovation project partially funded by the Home and Garden TV Network (HGTV). HGTV had identified the home of one of Dr. Bob’s community murals (“A Little Help From Our Friends” at the Community Mediation Center, 3333 Greenmount Ave.) as a site for their “Change the World: Start at Home” series. On April 27 and May 2, 2008, they sent a film crew to document the green renovations underway on the building that included: energy efficient doors, windows, and a green roof.
The most colorful renovation was the complete recreation of the 1996 Hieronimus mural called “A Little Help From Our Friends.” Featuring portraits of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Marley, Harriet Tubman, Bob Dylan, among others, this mural won the best mural award from WMAR-TV in ’96. Sons of Bob Marley, Ziggy and Stephen Marley, visited the mural in 1996 and 1997. At the dedication ceremony Baltimore was host to Rachel Carson’s grandson, China democracy advocate Liu Gang, Hall of Famer Leon Day’s widow, Geraldine, and other heroes and dignitaries.
Here’s how the mural looked after it was first completed in 1996. The crew of artists of Katie Butler, Lyle Kissack, and Gerald Ross did the work from start to finish in 17 days!
Here are some shots of damage to the mural over the following 12 years, explaining the need for the refurbishment in 2008.
The plans are complete and it's time to get out there with hard hats!
The scaffolding went up at the end of May 2008, and prep work began on the bricks to prime them for the repainting. One of the first challenges was working around the construction crews, cement mixers, and roof workers tar and dust floating and dripping down the side of the mural as the first crew attempted to start the project.
One of the steadfast members of the crew, Christopher Grove, (below) spent countless hours on this scaffold, redoing much of the portrait work.
A second challenge faced by the original crew was the discovery of weak points in the wall that needed to be demolished and re-cemented before prep work could continue.
A third major challenge was the rainy conditions that plagued work throughout the end of May through the middle of June. During the first 22 days on the schedule, they were rained out of 11 of them! See what the wind and rain did to the plastic sheeting over the scaffolding.
A Little Help From Our Friends, now has more friends!
So much time was lost due to the rainy weather and the need to reshuffle the original crew and hire new artists. Dr. Bob Hieronimus begins to repair the damage to the rainbow behind the mural’s name plate. Then he touched up the Yellow Submarine with a little help from Laura Cortner.
Dr. Bob Hieronimus explaining the meaning of “A Little Help From Our Friends” to the neighborhood children. One of the steadfast members of the crew, artist and project manager Judy Wolpert shares a moment of frustration with Dr. Bob as they examine mistakes that will set them back further from their deadline.
Dr. Bob Hieronimus improves and expands on the ET, one of the “Friends” with whose help, we hope to “get by.”
Artist and project manager Judy Wolpert spent countless hours climbing up and down this scaffold, redoing a lot of the major details in the portraits of the main “Friends.” The last week of May, the crew had dwindled to just three people. Dr. Bob gets covered in paint and intensifies his search for a new crew of artists needed at the last minute.
When the new crew arrives the first week of June, new ideas are beginning to generate in the mind of Dr. Bob Hieronimus. He designs the addition of several new symbols to give support and “Help” to our “Friends.” The first to take shape was the Liberty Bell done mostly by artist Justin Williams.
Artist Suzzi Skripkina began work on the bald eagle.
A book title change was made as a tip ‘o the hat to J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterworks.
The torch of the Statue of Liberty materializes under the brush of Keenan Williams (left).
Artist Kevin Flanagan creates the reverse of the Great Seal (right).
The camera crew from HGTV (Home and Garden TV Network) comes to town on one of the wettest days of the year! Dr. Bob Hieronimus chatting with the HGTV cameraman and director. Hardhats, raingear, cement mixers, and dump trucks -- such chaos!