While Annapolis is mainly known for its sailing and bars, it has a hidden gem of a community west of Church Circle in historic downtown. Head to West Street – between Church Circle and the Westin Annapolis Hotel. As you pass by restaurants, art galleries and painting classes, you will see large murals, paintings on building fronts and large, decorated chickens! This is the start of Annapolis’ Arts and Entertainment District.
For art enthusiasts or those wanting a different type of perspective on Annapolis, I highly recommend the Annapolis ArtWalk for a structured viewing of many of these well-known pieces. I’ve driven and walked past many of these sculptures and murals without really knowing the background behind them. The Annapolis Art in Public Places Commission has an online catalogue of public art sites throughout the city. The Mural’s section starts on page 19 of the catalogue!
The largest public art pieces you will see driving down West Street are a variety of large painted chickens. I did some research and found that in 2012, there was a city-wide debate as the Fresh Food Movement gained ground and legislation passed allowing Annapolis residents to have up to six chickens in their backyards for fresh eggs. Inspired by this local restaurant owners and the current Mayor Gavin Buckley and Jody Danek created a public art campaign. They hoped that this creative campaign would help to revive the floundering Capital City Arts District. The Baltimore Sun noted that Annapolis received a state arts-district designation in 2008 and won approval to offer tax incentives to attract an arts population. Unfortunately, a city budget crisis and recognition and reorganization left this new arts district without a clear identity or future. The chickens purpose was to help inspire talk and bring more light to this side of West Street.
During my own walk around the West Street Art Walk I I came across a few unknown murals, that you would not know about as they are slightly off the main part of West Street on West Washington Ave. A local man on his front porch, taking a break from the current stay at home quarantine, told me to check out the Pearl Bailey and Stanton Center murals. They were gorgeous and after 15 years of living here I had never seen them! To learn more about the Pearl Bailey mural check out Future History Now! There are some other great murals from around the city featured on this website and I’ve included photos of a few I came across.
This mural was hidden away in the Old Fourth Ward, which was a collaboration depicting social history and community life on Clay street in the 1900’s. It is located on the Stanton Community Center. I was absolutely fascinated with the depictions and vibrancy of this mural! For a little scavenger hunt head down West Washington Ave. and go about a block and a half down and on your right will be the Stanton Center. The mural is to the right of the front doors.
To follow my own art walk from West Street – Clay Street – Murray Hill (Maryland Hall of Creative Arts), I’ve listed out my stops below.
Westgate Circle (Eastward)
- Maryland Hall of Creative Arts (multiple works) – 801 Chase Street
- Bates Middle School (multiple works) – 701 Chase Street
- “Anne Catharine Green” & 18th Century printing – Hyatt Building, 200 Westgate Circle
- Building Graphics – Circle Creatives and Prism – 47-49 Spa Road
- The Wall at Park Place – Westgate Circle (greenspace off of Taylor Ave.)
- Ruby Throated Hummingbird – 3 Monticello Avenue
- ArtWalk Crosswalks – crosswalks on West Street and Amos Garrett intersections
- Wave Mural – 214 West Street
- Lighthouse – 202 West Street (side of building on Madison Place)
- President’s Hill Mural Project – 4 Madison Place (behind Lighthouse Bistro)
- Fish Mural – Sailor Oyster Bar 196 West Street
- “Sugarrush Mural” – Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge, 169 West Street
- The Wall at LemonGrass – 167 West Street
- Chickens Throughout West Street – map courtesy of Annapolis Arts District
- “Sunrise” – 69 West Street
- “Agony &Ecstasy” – 51 West Street
- “Pearl Bailey Mural Project” – Whitmore Garage
- “Community Rising” – Calvert and Clay Streets
- “The Old Fourth Ward” – Stanton Community Center, 92 W. Washington St.