Artists Detour and Nether, from Colorado and Baltimore, respectively, painted a mural on the south wall of the Boulevard Theatre celebrating Waverly and Memorial Stadium. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Although Oriole Park at Camden Yards has received plenty of attention this summer because of its 30th anniversary, the area where the team previously played hasn’t been forgotten.

A new mural on 33rd Street celebrates Waverly and Memorial Stadium, the team’s home from 1954 to 1991, before it moved downtown.

The right side of the mural shows a baseball player wearing a Baltimore City College cap and swinging a bat – a symbol for athletes of today. The left side shows Memorial Stadium with a bird’s nest in its center and four Orioles flying around it – a nod to the team’s origins.

The mural is the latest in a series of six “Birdland Murals” commissioned by the Orioles and PNC Bank, and the first one outside Camden Yards.

Completed Wednesday on the long south wall of the Boulevard Theatre at Greenmount Avenue and 33rd Street, it’s the work of two artists who painted it over the past week: Thomas Evans, a Colorado-based artist who also goes by Detour; and Nether, an artist from Baltimore. A dedication ceremony is planned for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The mural program was launched four years ago to celebrate Baltimore’s arts community and support talented artists. It also helped get Oriole Park in top shape to mark the 30th anniversary of its opening in April 1992.

Two murals were completed in 2019, two in 2021 and two this year. In 2019, all of the murals were painted by local female artists, as part of the Orioles’ yearlong celebration of women’s equality and girls’ empowerment in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 2020.

Baltimore-based artist Gaia curated the art program that includes the new mural at Boulevard Theatre. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The art program is curated by Gaia, also known as Andrew Pisacane, a Baltimore-based artist who has painted murals both locally and around the world. A consultant to the Orioles, Gaia said leaders for both the team and PNC Bank wanted to create a Birdland Mural that honored Waverly and Memorial Stadium, and he did too.

Gaia noted that the Waverly-Harwood area was a good choice for a community mural because it had another ballpark besides Memorial Stadium – the old “Terrapin Park” at Greenmount Avenue and 29th Street, which closed following a fire in 1944.

“There’s significant baseball history in this neighborhood,” he said.

After the Orioles moved to Camden Yards in 1992 and the Ravens followed to M&T Bank Stadium in 1998, Memorial Stadium was torn down to make way for new development. Demolition occurred between April 2001 and February 2002, and the site is currently occupied by YMCA branch and a mostly-residential community called Stadium Place.

Working in conjunction with the leaders of Waverly Main Street Inc. and the Waverly Improvement Association, Gaia said, he sought a location that was both an appropriate setting for a large mural and a place the community would want to see highlighted. He said all of the decision makers liked the visibility of the theater wall and its location along 33rd Street, the main east-west corridor in Waverly.

It gets “a ton of traffic. It’s very high profile. It was a pretty ugly wall…. There were lots of marks of rust and whatever,” he said. This way, “it kind of gets a freshener.”

The mural occupies most of the wall on the south side of the theatre, above a series of storefronts. It doesn’t cover six bas relief tablets near the top the building, art from another era. Evans painted the batter, and Nether painted the bird’s nest.

Other murals in the series have been painted by Megan Lewis; Ernest Shaw; Adam Stab; Logan Hicks; and Hanna Moran and Lindy Swan of Red Swan Walls. Gaia said there are plans for another round of art works next year. More information about the series can be found at Orioles.com/Murals.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.