“We wanted to do something beautiful, especially for the town I grew up in,” Thane said. “We saw this area here and thought it would be the perfect opportunity.”
The couple decided the site, which is largely urban, could use a brighter touch.
“That place wasn’t an ugly wall, it was an ordinary wall,” Thane said. “So we thought we could put some color in there.”
The couple approached Brian Grim, the owner of Allegany Pawn, who gave them the green light to paint the mural. Next, the couple spoke to Let’s Beautify Cumberland! members as well as City Hall officials and the Historic Preservation Commission for approval.
The mural depicts the Potomac River flowing through the natural environment as it did thousands of years ago. The pastoral landscape is framed by Greek-style columns.
“The ancient feel is given by adding Greek architecture,” Lynn said.
Thane, who grew up in a religious home in Oldtown, wasn’t exposed to much art growing up.
“There wasn’t a lot of art and I didn’t grow up with any television,” he said. “I didn’t watch TV until I was 13. The art I saw was mostly storybooks. We used to go to the library all the time and it was picture books with illustrations.
After being home-schooled for many years, Thane entered public high school.
“I did something terrible,” Thane said. “It wasn’t working.” He eventually drifted into a life of drugs and life on the streets. The lifestyle included a stint in prison.
“I saw the old people in jail and they all said they were there because of drugs,” Thane said. “I asked them what they were going to do when they got out and they said ‘drugs’. I thought, I can’t let this happen to me.
Things started to change for Thane after a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“It opened my eyes to art. I never thought it was possible. I had never seen art like this before,” he said.
He then began to study classical and modern artists. He studied the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and others. He finally made the decision to focus on art as a career and turned his life around.
Lynn followed a similar path.
“There wasn’t a lot of art growing for me either,” said Lynn, who grew up in Lonaconing. “I wasn’t exposed to much art until high school where I took an art class.
“But when I went to high school, I liked the more in-depth projects that we did. I went to Mountain Ridge (high school), but I did a lot of parties in high school. That’s how I met Elijah. Just crazy stuff. I was aimless for a while too. But I turned to nature and the outdoors. I went to Garrett College to work in forestry and the environment. .
“We started working on art together. Elijah showed me a lot. I love it. We have a lot of freedom. There is a lot to learn but we are entrepreneurs.
Thane and Lynn have done art, including several murals, for people across the United States and have been able to make a business out of it and make a living doing it. Their work can be seen on ElijahThane.com. The couple’s contact details are also available on the site.
“What we appreciate the most is when people pass by and tell us how beautiful the mural is. It’s worth it,” Thane said.