The 1000 block of East Baltimore Street according to Richard Mendelsohn

Just recently, Rick Mendelsohn (2009 graduate) completed a mural of the Helping Up Mission campus – the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street – on the wall of our dining hall. Trained and having worked professionally in art, Rick did most of his work through the years while high on one drug or another. In fact, he assumed that was how he did his best work. So, when he started in recovery Rick took a hiatus from art because he was not sure he could do it any longer – if he wasn’t high.

Consequently, Rick was honored to be asked to do this mural project and grateful for the chance to use his skills again. He had, In 1978, worked for the Washington D. C. Stadium Armory Complex and painted wall murals for the Washington Redskins and Washington Diplomats Soccer Team at entrance ways and concession areas in RFK Stadium. But he was a little concerned about this project, because he had never attempted such large scale art work without “artificial stimulation” before.

While Rick admits it took a little longer than hoped, he is very pleased to have been able to do this work (and not get high). The result is a beautiful representation of the fully renovated Helping Up Mission campus (including a rendering of the finished 1029 E Baltimore St. building which is still under construction). Rick gives special thanks to Helping Up Mission Board Member Christine Kameen who asked him to do the project (and actually painted the trees on the mural, herself) and Richard Kolbel (another 2009 graduate) who helped draw the original scene on the wall.

Incidentally, Richard also has five pieces on display in our art exhibit at the Regional Headquarters of Susquehanna Bank in Hunt Valley (see my 8/14/09 blog). In fact, this week Dave and Carole McQuay, who coordinated the art exhibition for us, took Rick over to see the display and folks in the bank offices treated him like a celebrity. You can see some of Rick’s work on display there by clicking on the link at the end of my 8/14/09 blog.

I feel like a proud papa when the men in our Program succeed in one area of their lives or another. Rick’s recovery and spiritual walk is paramount, but we are so happy to see him using his God-given talents as a means of blessing others.


Pastor Gary Byers                              Please click here to see more pictures of our mural.

Spiritual Life Director