A trip to Easter Island through the garage door
Laurie DeWitt/The Gazette
A Bethesda man brought the world's most remote, populated island a little closer recently when he commissioned a family friend to paint a mural of Easter Island on the inside of his garage.
"For number of years I had a picture of it and it gave me an idea, to have a mural put on this wall," Harold Quann said. "I don't know why Easter Island, I'm still deciding."
Quann said the mural, which depicts the world-famous Moai figures carved centuries ago by the Rapanui people as a form of ancestral worship on the Polynesian island off the coast of Chile, is simply "a minor fallout" from his lifelong interest in art and the humanities. He had a picture of the monolithic figures that he saved from a Sunday New York Times that spoke to him somehow.
"I knew I'd need it someday," Quann said. "I think there's something that has always interested me on the faces on the Moai and I think there's a purpose to them."
Quann commissioned Millersville artist Jane Caha, the daughter of an old friend, to paint the mural. Caha paints murals inside and outside of houses for people, and had done one of a P-47 airplane on the inside of her pilot father's garage, which inspired Quann.
"Out of the hundreds and hundreds of paintings I have done, that was pretty strange," Caha said. "I didn't know a lot about Easter Island but now I do."
The mural was done in a day and a half with acrylics, and depicts several of the Moai with the ocean behind them and grassy island before them. Quann said the unity of the land, sea and sky was one of the things that drew him to the mural subject over others.
"Stonehenge wouldn't be as good here as Easter Island because you don't get any ocean with Stonehenge," Quann explained.
The mural sits on the rear wall of the garage, with "Otis," Quann's favorite Moai, spotlighted on an outcropping near the door that enters the home. On one side wall there is a small reference map of the Polynesian Triangle, depicting where Easter Island is located. On the opposite wall hangs a poster briefly outlining the history of the island, which has seen religious and class wars, genocide, total ecological devastation and European colonization.
Quann said parking the car when he comes home always puts him in a good mood now.
Quann's neighbor said the mural is characteristic of his "whimsical" nature.
"It just fits his personality," said Donna James, adding she used to admire any garage that was just clean and uncluttered. "That doesn't cut it anymore, now you have to have a mural."
Neighbor Laura Donkin, who watched the mural develop while walking her dog, said it's a unique addition to the neighborhood.
"Probably no one else in the entire world has an Easter Island mural in their garage," Donkin said.
Bethesda resident Denise Machado was recently named as the Humanitarian of the Year by the Montgomery County Humane Society for her nearly 20 years of service as a foster parent for animals, interview and educator.
She was honored at the annual Dances With Dogs gala.
Machado has fostered nearly 1,600 animals from mice to parrots, bunnies and dogs. Her lifelong commitment to "special needs" animals – those with physical or emotional needs and elderly animals – shows the extent of her generosity and concern for all animals within the community.
The Montgomery County Humane Society in Rockville is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that has provided animal sheltering services since 1958. As the only full-service animal shelter in Montgomery County, it shelters approximately 8,000 animals yearly.
Bethesda residents honored for scientific achievements
The U.S. Department of Commerce has honored 40 area employees of the National Institute of Standards and technology, a non-regulatory federal agency within the commerce department that partners with industries, educational institutions, health care providers and nonprofits and aims to advance technology.
John E. Bonevich and Andras E. Vladar, both of Bethesda, were each honored for scientific and engineering achievement with the institute's Silver Medal, the second highest honor awarded by the Department of Commerce. It is bestowed for "exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions that have a direct and lasting impact within the department."
Reach out to warm a heart
Hearts & Homes for Youth, a nonprofit that counsels and shelters troubled, homeless and abused children in the Washington/Baltimore area, is seeking donations to fulfill the wishes of 150 children who will be without their families this season.
The Wish Makers Holiday Gift Drive, which ends Dec. 15, is seeking toys, clothing, gift certificates or other donations from individuals and groups.
To help, call 301-589-8444, ext. 212, or visit www.heartsandhomes.org.
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