A Vincentian Family artist uses paint to instill neighborhood pride. His “canvas”, the facade of Loyola’s public safety and transportation building. His assistants, children from the neighborhood. This is the story told on ABC TV in Baltimore.
Iandry Randriamandroso had volunteered in Madagascar in the institution for the developmentally disabled. Sister Kathryn Bechtold,DC, recognized his talent and was instrumental in coming to St. John’s University where he was supported by the University and the Daughters of Charity.
Iandry’s field is community art as education and enrichment but also as part of development. He feels art is a humanizing force and helps to build community. Where he has done these murals, the people respect the surroundings and find other ways to develop neighborhoods. It is popularizing art by involvement. He also does museum work but his interest is bringing people together. He has done work like this in several cities in the South and in Texas.
Members of the York Road and Govanstowne communities gathered Wednesday to make their artistic mark on the facade of Loyola’s public safety and transportation building at 5104 York Rd., as the first mural of the York Road Mural Initiative came to life.
The project, called Bmore Birds, will appear along the York Road corridor between 43rd Street and Glenwood Avenue.
The murals will feature birds native to Baltimore, a subject chosen by community stakeholders—including the York Road Partnership and Govanstowne Business Association—for their connection to the local environment, their inclusiveness, and their universality.
All six murals have been designed by community artist and MICA (Maryland Institute community Art) graduate Iandry Randriamandroso, whose work appears in public art spaces across the country. Originally from Madagascar, Iandry Randriamandroso has lived in Baltimore since 2008.
“The pre-defined vision of this project was to beautify the York Road corridor with public art works. But my hope is that the project will also to engage and educate people who live in or visit the corridor about native birds living in the local area,” the artist said in an interview with Loyola Magazine..
“Birds play an important role in maintaining balances in our ecosystem. They add enjoyment to our lives with their beauty both in plumage colors and distinct songs. In ever-changing urban landscapes, they represent adaptation, resilience, and the continuation of life,”Randriamandroso explained.
The three-panel mural on Loyola’s property features a dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit and of peace and a nod to the University’s Catholic nature, the artist said. The colors are also inspired by the liturgy: red symbolizes fire and blood; purple symbolizes humility and renewal; and yellow represents victory and joy.
A part of streetscaping efforts in the Govanstowne community in north Baltimore City, the initiative is funded by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the Govanstowne Business Association, and Loyola University Maryland (Loyola funded the mural on its building).
The next murals are slated to be painted at Academy Cleaners of 5219 York Rd. and Riley’s Beauty Salon, located at 4333 York Rd., and Randriamandroso hopes to have the entire project finished by early October.
“The goal is to bring people from the neighborhood to do this painting together,” he said.
Erin Okeefe, ‘03, director of the York Road Initiative, said she thinks the project will allow folks to see York Road differently then they have in the past.
Randriamandroso agrees. “I hope that the project gives an identity to area and attracts people to pay attention to the potential that the York Road Corridor has,” he said.