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New Dora Cuenca Mural Commissioned on Percy Street as A Marriage Proposal

January 4, 2021

Words and photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale.

On the 12th day of Christmas, what did your true love get for you? For Danielle Brief, the answer was a mural and a marriage proposal!

Her fiance, Jonah Adams, wanted to do something special and personal. Both he and Danielle are part of the Percy Street Project committee, a group of neighbors working to continue beautifying the blind alley where David Guinn and Drew Billiau created their beloved electric mural in 2016. So Jonah decided to commission another mural on Percy Street, which had served as a sanctuary for the couple during the pandemic.

“I decided to use the opportunity to create something beautiful for the whole community,” he told me via Instagram message. “I ran the idea past the committee and they all loved it.”

Next, he had to pick an artist from among the many that Danielle admires. It came to him at the Streets Dept Walls exhibition at the Fashion District in 2019: Dora Cuenca.

“[Danielle] kvelled about Dora Cuenca and was even too embarrassed to introduce herself. I reached out to her on Instagram and she loved the idea,” Jonah said.

Dora told me she felt honored to do a commission for such a special moment. “I wanted it to give the feeling of something that was flourishing, growing, unfolding,” she explained over email. “Just like the new adventure Jonah and Danielle are embarking on.”

Over FaceTime, Dora chose a wall belonging to Val and Marcy, the owner of Bud & Marilyn’s, who had previously given the Percy Street committee blanket permission to paint on any of their three buildings on the street. They also enthusiastically approved the mural and proposal idea.

After completing her initial draft design, Dora felt that it was missing something. After some discussion with Jonah, she reworked it to include a face and a hamsa, a symbol that, in Judaism, represents the hand of God or the hand of Miriam (the sister of Moses and Aron). The symbol holds particular meaning for Danielle, who runs a mosaic art business called HamsaMade.

To finish the project, Jonah had to make several sneaky trips out of the house to take measurements, buy paint, wash the wall, and put on a coat of primer (as Dora’s schedule only allowed her a single day to come and paint). “Sometimes I was painting in the snow with a borrowed ladder,” Jonah told me. “It really came down to the wire.”

On December 22nd, Dora painted the mural, and on December 25th, Jonah took Danielle for a walk to go see it, where she quickly realized that it was specifically for her! At that point, Jonah got down on one knee. And if it isn’t obvious by this point, Danielle said yes! Afterward, other family members in their social bubble joined the happy Jewish couple for—what else?—Chinese food.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Halie permalink
    January 4, 2021 10:06 pm

    What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing such a special moment with everyone.
    Congratulations on your engagement-Mazel Tov


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