Pedestrians walking in downtown College Park may now be surprised by a bit of nature greeting them from an unexpected place—two stories above ground.

Mural on brick wall above Nando's Peri-Peri showing a yellow flower and a terrapin outline on a red, black and white backgroundA new mural coming to life on Baltimore Avenue near the intersection with Knox Road depicts some of Maryland’s flora and fauna: a black-eyed Susan, a Baltimore checkerspot butterfly and a diamondback terrapin. Together, the state flower, insect and reptile are helping to “liven up the area,” said Eric Olson, executive director of the College Park City-University Partnership, which commissioned the mural.

The façade had previously sported a mural, but it was taken down several years ago. “It was just a big blank wall, and the more we thought about it, it’s the most prominent wall in downtown College Park, and so it was just begging to become a mural again,” said Olson. 

Artists Cory Stowers and Jason Philp created the mural, incorporating Maryland colors red, black and gold into the design. Painting some of the state’s natural assets felt like a clear choice—further strengthened by efforts made on campus to bolster the Baltimore checkerspot’s habitat.

Olson hopes that the mural—scheduled to be unveiled in early November—will bring some extra spark to the area. “We’re trying to do a lot to make downtown even more vibrant, even more of a place where arts and culture thrive.”