Cindy Fletcher Holden designed this mural on the Annapolis Maritime Museum building, commissioned by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Art in Public Places Commission. (Submitted photo)

Cindy Fletcher Holden knew when she was in elementary school that drawing was something she really liked. Maybe it was the influence of her artist mother, but after graduating from Severna Park High School, Cindy headed to Baltimore to The Maryland Institute College for Art. Founded in 1826, MICA is the oldest and one of the most respected colleges for art in the USA.

In 1983, 22-year-old Cindy graduated at the top of her class, magna cum laude, with a degree in painting. Little did she know that lettering design would be her first artistic creation.

Back in Annapolis, she found mariners eager for their boats to be artistically identified. With a hand skilled for drawing, and time working in sign shops, Cindy soon became the go-to person for lettering the transom of boats docked along Spa Creek, Back Creek and all over the Chesapeake Bay.     

In 1987, Fletcher Art was born and with it an expansion of her artistic hands to bigger works of Art.

Looking to bring murals to the City, Eastport Alderman Moyer, eyed the barren wall on Fourth street, a warehouse for Hopkins Furniture that had once been a grocery store. The Eastport Civic Association was eager to engage. To show its difference from the Historic District downtown, they supported a new version of beautification and Fletcher Art was commissioned to paint the wall mural. With this support, the city’s first mural was born. The fourth street mural, now gone, showcased the marine history and people of Eastport. With this action, Cindy Fletcher Holden became the first muralist in the city. Today they number over 58 by a variety of artists.

Cindy Fletcher Holden (Submitted Photo)

Eastport celebrated this venture of the Civic Association. Postcards and note cards were created showcasing this grand first building art occasion. Crowds gathered for the ribbon cutting and hoisted a few to the first, that downtown Annapolis shunned.

Eastport is home to three other Fletcher Murals. (Annapolis Maritime Museum, Boatyard Bar and Grill alley way and Eastport 150 on Second Street)

Visitors coming into the city up Chinquapin Round Rd can see a vision of the downtown waterfront on a mural painted by Cindy that includes a Wednesday night racing scene in the harbor with boats that wear her signature name designs.

The most glorious mural produced In 2022 is on the County office building on Calvert Street. Designed by Cindy Fletcher Holden, the story of Anne Arundel County was painted in a hot summer by 2 artists, Cindy and Comacell Brown, A new local up and coming artist.

Cindy’s work is not contained to Annapolis only. Starbucks admired her work and commissioned her to paint many murals and graphics in their buildings up and down the Atlantic coast. She also is the founder of Art Between the Creeks, a community based biannual art exhibition that is still thriving after 20 years.

On an Atlantic Sailing venture with her sailmaker husband, Robert, aboard their custom ketch “Tenacity,” Cindy and Robert sailed to Europe and beyond, where Cindy continued to work and now her murals can be seen In Spain and Portugal. And of course as her first venture in the design naming of boats, they continue to sail Tenacity out of the Chesapeake.

In another life, Cindy and her husband are a great team and a fixture in ice dancing. They competed nationally in Lake Placid and achieved a bronze award. For now they continue ice dancing for fun, as well as tend their flower garden and cats. Robert recently started his own business, Holden on Canvas, specializing in custom marine canvas and Cindy still works full time, both moving forward on the things their talents demand … special art that tells the stories surrounding them and creating new opportunities to showcase the maritime industry.

Ellen Moyer is a former mayor of Annapolis. She welcomes comments and idea sharing and can be contacted at [email protected].

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