Building Mural Adds Love, Song and Art to Bethesda Intersection

Elyse Harrison’s latest work adorns the side of L’Academie de Cuisine


Elyse Harrison, with her new mural, called "Heart Song."


At Old Georgetown Road and Cordell Avenue, love is in the air—on a mural on a building.

A new addition to Bethesda’s public art scene is Elyse Harrison’s “Heart Song,” which shows a woman with her eyes closed, concentrating as she sings. A red heart has emerged from her mouth. Curlicues around her face appear on the verge of forming more hearts.

“She’s really feeling the music and it’s coming out,” Harrison said in an interview.

She described the scene as what it might be like to see our emotions.

Harrison’s work on the mural, which is on the side of L’Academie de Cuisine, was funded by an Artists and Scholars Project Grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

She said Bethesda Urban Partnership also contributed. Bill Kolius, who owns the building where “Heart Song” is, will help with lighting to show the piece, Harrison said.

Harrison, who lives in Bethesda, painted the “Heart Song” in her studio as an acrylic on fiber board. The piece, which is for sale, measures about 40 inches high by about 86 inches wide.

The mural is a digital print, measuring about 8 feet high by about 16 feet wide.

Harrison said she wanted to make a smaller piece first, then a larger print, so she could put a lot of detail into it in her studio.

Pete Duvall of Anything Photographic took a picture of “Heart Song” that Dodge-Chrome, a production company, used to create the larger print. The mural is affixed to the wall with an adhesive vinyl.

The mural went up on Nov. 30.

A few days earlier, an unrelated public mural project wrapped up in Bethesda. Brookfield Properties commissioned artists to create four murals in Bethesda (three of them in public places on East-West Highway and Wisconsin Avenue) and two in Washington, D.C.

Harrison said people might remember the 20-foot lobster mural she did in 2003 for the former Steamers Seafood House on Auburn Avenue. Other largescale pieces of hers can be seen in Bethesda and other parts of the metro D.C. area.

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