Best Mural

On West Baltimore's Pressman Street, across Pennsylvania Avenue from a triangular park with a fountain, one could easily pretend to step right out of the hard-bitten city and into a quiet, dewy, sunlight-dappled forest at dawn. Someone actually trying to do so, though, would walk smack into a wall covered by an ultra-realist mural, called Memorial Garden, by Baltimore artist Lyle Kissack. The effect is magnified by the actual shrubs, looking very much like the forest understory Kissack painted, that sprout from the patch of grass directly in front of the mural, and the stand of trees, which resemble Kissack's trees, on the adjacent lot. It's a gem of a mural that incorporates and complements its setting while creating a powerful, peaceful, pristine sense of escapism-and sometimes that's the best thing public art can do.

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