Baltimore Love Project inspires Love is Louder at TU

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This love mural, created by Michael Owen, is located at Carroll Park. The mural was painted as a part of the Baltimore Love Project.
(Photo by: Emily Cunningham/ TU Student)

On a recent trip into Baltimore City to visit Baltimore Love Project murals, Towson students explored a softer side of the city.

To kick off ‘Love Week’ at Towson, a group of 14 students traveled to three murals located around the city on Sunday, April 14.

Creator of the Baltimore Love Project and local artist Michael Owen has been the lead artist of the 16 murals. The murals all include the same shadow of four different hands coming together to spell the word “love.”

“It shows that people care,” freshman Katie Henkel said. “This guy went to such great lengths to make the mural and it implies an action – that people should go out and love each other.”

Love is Louder at TU is a student group on campus that emerged from the national Love is Louder organization. Both are dedicated to spreading the message of love and anti-bullying. The trip to the murals was a part of Love Week, a week dedicated to promoting this message across the Towson campus.

Love is Louder at TU president Michael Garofalo was very satisfied with the trip.

“There is a good artistic message in the murals,” Garofalo said. “And it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s how important it is to be reminded that you are loved, and that, even in a town like Baltimore with such a high crime rate, there is love to be had.”

The group traveled to murals located at Carroll Park, Broadway East, and Northwestern High School. The mural on N. Howard Street was also unexpectedly spotted along the way while the students were traveling through the city.

Freshman math and secondary education major Trystan Denhard had never been to a Love is Louder event and had high expectations for the day.

“I was excited to meet the people in the club and learn and grow from the event,” she said. “But I felt like it was really repetitive going to the same mural. I understand the message and concept it is trying to bring, but I felt like I wasn’t giving his murals justice by just taking pictures in front of them. I wish it was based more in the community of Baltimore rather than just showing the world what we obviously believe in and support.”

At Northwesten High School, the last mural stop, the students had a discussion about the murals they had seen, talking about subjects such as why the mural was painted on the side of a school, what love means, and if love can exist without hate.

“I thought the discussion was the most beneficial part of the trip,” Denhard said. “I didn’t really think the murals are ‘for’ me. They are for those children at the school or for the people in the park. They are painted in Baltimore for the people in Baltimore. He made them so people would randomly see them at different times of the day as a reminder – it’s not as impactful when you purposefully search for them. It was most exciting when we passed a mural along the way that wasn’t even planned.”

Events coordinator Jess Foley thought that it was important that the group go into Baltimore to see the paintings, expanding their vision outside of the Towson Community.

“The murals made me realize that no matter what you go through, you are never really alone,” Foley said. “And going with a group of people was cool, because it shows that they’re with you, supporting you and supporting the same message.”

To continue Love Week, the organization held a screening on the documentary Bully on Monday night. On Tuesday night, they will be hosting Love Song Karaoke in Paws from 7 to 9 p.m. On Thursday, Love Trivia will be held at Paws from 8 to 10 p.m. And for an extended Love Week, the founder of the national organization Love is Louder, Courtney Knowles, and co-founder Brittany Snow will be coming to Towson on Tuesday, April 23 to talk to students and spread the anti-bullying message.

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