Historic Preservation Commission Approves Two Murals for Old Ellicott City

Art in Ellicott City (AEC) is thrilled to announce that last night, the Howard County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approved two mural designs for Main Street. Both murals will be funded by a combination of state bond money and private donations solicited by AEC.

Last year, the General Assembly approved a bond bill to fund public murals in historic Ellicott City, and AEC is the non-profit managing the project. AEC has been working with HPC since September 2018, when we sought advisory comments from the Commission about potential mural locations. Shortly thereafter, AEC announced a public contest to solicit designs. We received 20 proposals from 7 different artists.

In March 2019, AEC took all 20 proposals back to HPC for advisory comments. Following that session, Art in Ellicott City selected — and HPC subsequently approved — a design by local artist Antonia Ramis Miguel and another by Ellicott City native Wiley Purkey.

  1. Ford Dealership Mural at 8289 Main Street

The first design is for a mural on the east side of the Reedy Building, currently occupied by Sweet Elizabeth Jane. Before the building housed Reedy Electric, it housed the first Ford dealership in Ellicott City. The dealership sold every model Ford from Model Ts until the dealership closed in 1960.

Antonia Ramis Miguel

Local artist Antonia Ramis Miguel designed this mural to “look through” the exterior wall into the original showroom. Passers-by could look through the front showcase windows and see Model Ts and Model As on display inside. Ms. Miguel’s design also depicts pedestrians looking through the opening in the wall. Further back on the east wall, Ms. Miguel’s design “looks through” to a mechanic working in the repair shop in the back.

2. Sanborn Map Mural at 8249 Main Street

The second design is for the west side of the Yates Market building, a location passed by many of the visitors who park in Parking Lot D. This building housed the Yates Market from 1885 until 2012, and for most of that time it was a grocery store known for dedicated family service, fresh sausage, and home delivery.

Wiley Purkey

Ellicott City native, Wiley Purkey, designed this mural as a wayfinding aid. Mr. Purkey’s design incorporates the 19th-century Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and depicts a panoramic view of the winter sky-line. In addition, Mr. Purkey’s design includes a rack to display the business cards of shops and services in the historic district, thus maximizing the wayfinding value of the map.

Ms. Miguel’s and Mr. Purkey’s designs will both go through some modest fine tuning over the next few weeks. Work will begin as soon as possible, and we expect both of them to be installed by the end of the summer.

We hope you are as excited about this wonderful art work as we are!