The mural, designed and painted by artist Rafael Blanco, features jazz great and Frederick native Lester Bowie. Bowie, born in 1941 in Frederick County, grew up in St. Louis and began studying trumpet with his father as a boy. He was a cofounder of St. Louis’s Black Artists Group, and would go on to co-found the Art Ensemble of Chicago. An adventurous player, he explored the connection between jazz and other forms of popular music, and was famous for performing in a white lab coat, indicating he was researcher of jazz and the stage was his laboratory.
Mural artist Rafael Blanco is a native of Alicante, Spain, and his artistic practice focuses on identity and human expression. Trained as a classical painter, he has transitioned into large-scale public art. He has exhibited internationally and holds an MFA from the University of Nevada; he is currently an assistant professor at Elmhurst University in the Chicago area.