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Elbe's Mural - Wheaton MD


Budget: $40,000
Activated: 01/27/2023
Deadline: 02/17/2023
Call Summary
MARYLAND RESIDENTS are invited to submit their qualifications and letters of interest in creating an outdoor mural in Wheaton, MD. Wheaton is a multicultural community undergoing an arts awakening as an Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District. Wheaton hosts an annual arts parade and festival and has several large murals and public art installations to attract visitors, encourage walkability and promote economic development. The location for the mural is Elbe's Beer & Wine store, one of the oldest businesses in the heart of Wheaton’s Urban District. The site is on the heavily traveled University Blvd, one block from Wheaton's gateway sign. The mural will welcome eastbound travelers with a striking statement that Wheaton is an arts friendly and diverse community. The mural also will have great visibility to cars traveling toward the town center on Grandview Ave, a path residents walk daily to the Metro. Elbe’s has been family owned since 1951 when it was started as a neighborhood grocery store by Willie and Miriam Bobrow. Willie Bobrow served in the US Army in WWII and was stationed near the Elbe River, hence the name. The deadline to submit applications is February 17, 2023 at 5 PM. Three finalists will be selected to receive a commission of $1000 each to prepare design concepts. From among the finalists, one will be selected to refine their design and create the mural. The projected budget to create the mural is $40,000. Work on the mural may begin in July 2023 and must be completed by September 17, 2023. The project is managed by Wheaton Wonders Inc, doing business as Wheaton Arts Parade (WAP). The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) “Public Art Across Maryland” program has fully funded the planning process. The project is also supported in part by the Montgomery County Government.
Budget Description
The budget has two phases: 1) planning and 2) project implementation. The planning phase will award a $1,000 commission to each of the three finalists who are selected to develop their design concepts. The projected budget for project implementation is $40,000. The planning phase ends when the project submits the winning design and project plan to the Maryland State Arts Council for its April 14, 2023 funding cycle. The project implementation budget includes the artist’s commission and all supplies, equipment, and insurance, etc. the artist may need to create the mural. Funds are not available to cover travel costs during the planning or implementation phases. Although project implementation funding has not been approved, the award of planning funds by MSAC is an indication that a feasible project plan for a design that has community support will be favorably received. WAP also will be raising funds from local businesses and other sources for additional funds to cover costs such as lighting.

Project Description
The new outdoor mural will cover a wall that measures 2054 sq ft on the west side of Elbe’s Beer & Wine store in Wheaton, MD. The building has two stories and is faced primarily with glazed brick and block. The project has two phases, planning and implementation. The planning phase is fully funded with a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The implementation phase, including wall preparation, is partially funded. The objective of the planning phase is to select three qualified artists, each of whom will receive $1,000 commission to develop design concepts. From those three finalists, one will be selected to create the mural. The project aims to select the winning design concept in time to submit an application to MSAC for project implementation funding by April 14, 2023. Finalists will receive feedback from the Advisory Committee to guide them in producing their design concepts, including their proposed budget and implementation schedule. The finalists’ designs will be presented to the public and the community’s preferences will be considered by the Advisory Committee in selecting the winning design. The planning phase concludes with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the winning artist and a public presentation by the artist of their design and the application to MSAC for project implementation funds. It is anticipated that funding will be available for wall preparation prior to the MSAC award decision. After implementation funds are made available around the beginning of July, the artist may begin work on the mural. The mural must be completed by September 15. The winning artist will be responsible for all materials, insurance and rental of equipment needed to create the mural.
Artwork Goals
The purpose of this project is to create an attractive work of public art that will celebrate the multicultural Wheaton community and welcome visitors to the Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District. The new mural will join other murals and public art that have been installed in Wheaton to create an art walk around the urban center. Elbe's is one of the oldest business establishments in Wheaton. (Images in additional resources.) Elbe's has been family owned since 1951 when it was started as a neighborhood grocery store by Willie and Miriam Bobrow. Willie Bobrow served in the US Army in WWII and was stationed near the Elbe River, hence the name. The store is now run by their sons Andy and Jeff. Community input can be found in Additional Resources.
Artwork Location Description
The mural location is on the west wall of Elbe’s Beer & Wine store at 2522 University Blvd W, Wheaton, MD 20902. University Blvd is a busy state highway that runs through the center of the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District. For Eastbound traffic, the mural will be one block from the Wheaton gateway sign. It is two blocks from the Wheaton Metro Station and the Marian Fryer Town Plaza. This is a large wall with excellent visibility to vehicles and pedestrians traveling East on University Blvd and South on Grandview Ave and from the north side of the intersection. The mural wall measures 2054 sq ft . The wall is faced with glazed brick and block and includes a second floor which has a row of punched windows. The bottom half of the wall was recently painted. There are two signs on the far left on the wall that will remain. The mural can be painted to the right of these signs or surrounding them. Site images can be found in Additional Resources. The wall will be viewable at night in artificial light. Lighting is not part of this call. The wall has a western exposure and receives direct sunlight. This necessitates the use of paints and a protective coating that will ensure the integrity of the mural’s colors over the years. In order to have access to the wall and paint the mural, the artist will need to work in the driveway of Elbe’s Beer & Wine store (see photos.) A lift is needed. The owners will ensure that the work area is sufficiently barricaded from any cars parking at the store. The work area is entirely on the owner’s property and no permits are required. There are several locations from which views of the mural are most important in order to achieve the goals of this project. Images are in Additional Resources.
Site History
Elbe's is one of the oldest business establishments in Wheaton. It has been family owned since 1951 when it was started as a neighborhood grocery store by Willie and Miriam Bobrow. Willie Bobrow served in the US Army in WWII and was stationed near the Elbe River, hence the name. The store is now run by their sons Andy and Jeff.
Wheaton’s European settlement started with two tracts of farmland east of Rock Creek .  Although the farmland in has been developed, a large tract of woodland  has  been preserved in the 536-acre Wheaton Regional Park and and Brookside Gardens.  Three roads cut through the original farmland: Brookeville Pike (now Georgia Ave.) was a toll road from Washington DC to Baltimore. Veirs Mill Rd. was a coach road from Wheaton to Rockville and beyond  to ferry crossings on the Potomac River. Old Bladensburg Rd. (now University Blvd.) connected Georgetown, Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Bladensburg.  A small business area developed in the triangle formed by the cross section of these roads.  The business district became known at Mitchell's Crossroads for Mitchell's Tavern which stood on the corner of Georgia Ave. and University Blvd.  In 1826, the area post office  was named Leesborough but it was renamed in 1869 for  Union Brigadier General Frank Wheaton  who led a  charge  that repelled Confederate sharpshooters firing on  Fort Stevens on on July 12, 1864. Wheaton is the highest point above sea level in the greater Washington area and it drains into both Rock Creek and the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, two tributaries of the Potomac.  Another result  of Wheaton's relatively high elevation is that its Metro station has the longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere. Today Wheaton is known for its diverse cultures, ethnic restaurants and small businesses  and for  the area's oldest shopping mall, Wheaton Plaza, which by 1960  it had become the largest shopping center in the Washington Metropolitan area.  Today the mall  is known as Westfield Wheaton and with dozens of stores, restaurants and movie theaters it remains the biggest attraction of visitors to the Wheaton area. Wheaton is having a renaissance with new apartment buildings, the opening of the Wheaton Library and Community Recreational Center and the development of the downtown triangle with a 14-story LEED Platinum county office building and town plaza that is the site of the annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival.
MARYLAND RESIDENTS who are 18 and older are eligible to apply. An artist may apply on behalf of a group of artists who also reside in Maryland, but unless the group is incorporated the contract will be awarded to the applicant who is responsible for how the commission is allocated. Arts organizations are eligible to apply provided the artists designing and creating the mural are Maryland residents.
Application Requirements
Resume: 2 page(s) maximum
Work examples: 3 - 10
Letter of Interest: 1000 word maximum
Artists should follow the guidelines provided by for composing a Letter of Interest. The letter of interest should state whether the artist is available and qualified to undertake the wall preparation. Note that the funds for the cost of wall preparation will not come out of the $40,000 budget for this call. The letter of interest should explain how some of the images submitted are relevant to the project.
References: 3
Artists are allowed to apply in teams.
Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.
Selection Information
Selection Process
The Selection Process has two-steps and is managed by Wheaton Arts Parade. Selection will be made by an advisory committee and will consider community input. The property owner is a member of the advisory committee and has a voice in the selection.The first step in the selection process is the evaluation of the applicant's qualifications and letters of intent. Application deadline is February 17. Three finalists will be selected by March 3, 2023. Each finalist will be awarded a commission of $1000 to prepare design concepts including a proposed budget and project schedule.. Half of the commission will be paid after the finalists are selected on March 10 and the balance will be paid on March 24, 2023 when their design concepts are due. The second step in the selection process takes place from March 24-April 12. Community preferences will be collected from March 24-April 5. The Advisory Committee will consider the community's preferences and select the winning design on April 7. By April 12 an MOU will be signed between the project manager and the winning artist.
Selection Criteria
1. Artist's qualifications and mural experience (30%)
2. Past work demonstrates the artist's ability to create a mural that captures Wheaton's multicultural character and send a striking message to visitors that Wheaton is an arts friendly community. (40%)
3. Letter of intent communicates an understanding of the Wheaton community, the mural's purpose and why the artist's work is appropriate for this setting. (30%)
January 27 - Call to artists (3 weeks to apply)
February 17- Deadline for applications (qualifications & letters of intent)
March 3 - Advisory committee selects 3 finalists
March 3 - Half of $1,000 commission awarded to finalists to prepare design concepts (3 weeks to prepare)
March 24 - Design concepts submitted with proposed budget & project schedule. Balance of $1,000 commission awarded.
March 24-April 5 - Community preferences for designs collected (2 weeks for community comments)
April 7 - Winning design selected
April 12 - MOU signed with winning artist
April 14 - Application to MSAC submitted for project implementation funding
May 22-June 9 - Wall preparation
June 30-September 15 Mural installation
September 24 - Public dedication of mural at annual arts festival
Additional Resources
Elbe's Mural Views (PDF)
Elbe's Driveway and Wall Details (PDF)
Census Data (PDF)
Community Input (PDF)
Contact Information
Dan Thompson
Executive Director
2801 Elnora St
Wheaton Maryland 20902 United States



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