Muralists Use Germantown Daycare’s Metal Grates as Canvas

Aaron Moselle |

A bright, floral-dotted mural is taking shape on the corrugated security gates of a Germantown daycare center.

Over the course of the next few weekends, Kala Hagopian and Ali Williams will hand-paint all five of Acclaim Academy's roll-down gates with hopes of bringing some beauty to the heart of the neighborhood's commercial district.

For Hagopian and Williams, equal parts of Chroma Dolls LLC, the project at 5615 Germantown Ave. also gives them the opportunity to connect with the community as they create.

"We like actively painting and having a dialogue with people," said Williams.

How it came to be

The duo, which specializes in large outdoor murals, was commissioned by Acclaim's owner Joe Martin. He said he grew weary of the "war-time effect" created by the block's string of metal gates.

"Imagine if we could get the whole block to look like that," said Martin, who is also interim chairman of the Germantown Special Services District. "It would just totally give Germantown a different perspective. It would almost put us in an art district."

Weather-permitting, the turquoise-heavy mural should be finished by month's end. Martin said he hopes other businesses follow his lead after they see the final product.

"Sometimes, you need the initial visualization of what it could look like and what the possibilities are. And once you see that, then people will get on board," said Martin.

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