MCDOT worked with Federal Realty, which commissioned the large murals by artist Andrea Cobb of Durham, N.C. They are located at the entrances of MCDOT’s Public Garage 57 on Elm Street and Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda Row.
Ms. Cobb said her murals reflect joy and pleasure (flowers), emotion and love (heart) and peace and friendship (olives).
“We are excited about this partnership with Federal Realty, which brings art into our communities,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Public art installations contribute to vibrant downtown communities and raise the profile of the arts by making art exciting and accessible. We hope to encourage more partnerships like this in the future.”
Federal Realty said the artwork enhances Downtown Bethesda.
“Marking nearly 30 years rooted within the greater downtown Bethesda community, we sought to improve Bethesda Row’s retail mix, and enhance the public experience throughout,” said Federal Realty Senior Vice President John Tschiderer, “Our latest multi-million-dollar investment represents a substantial property improvement project, including façade upgrades, re-designed public gathering places, improved landscape, new public seating, enhanced lighting and art additions throughout along with the new public parking art installations, which will better incorporate the garage into the greater neighborhood presentation.”
MCDOT has a history of making parking facilities available for works of art. A mural was painted on the side of the County Parking Garage at 7661 Old Georgetown Road last year. The 8216 Woodmont Garage was painted in 2020. Both were commissioned through the “Paint the Town” program, a partnership with the Bethesda Urban Partnership.
“We have seen great success in the past with public art installations on our public parking garages within downtown areas,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Public art can increase foot traffic for local businesses and draw interest in parts of downtown that would otherwise be overlooked.”