Kay Daniels-Cohen honored

Jack Cohen, Buddy Daniels and Luke Vawter by the mural, Feb. 25, 2016. Photo by Bill Brown

IMAGE: Jack Cohen, Buddy Daniels and artist Luke Vawter by the mural, Feb. 25, 2016.  Photo by Bill Brown.


FEB 25 — The late councilmember and community activist Kay Daniels-Cohen has been honored in a new public mural.

Installed near one of the community gardens she founded, the painting shows Daniels-Cohen cheerfully waving to the viewer. Below her a half-dozen gardeners till the soil.

Kay Daniels-Cohen passed away a little more than two years ago on Feb. 20, 2014. She died at age 71 after a long battle with cancer. She grew up in Takoma Park, the daughter of community activist Opal Daniels, for whom a neighborhood park is named.

Kay Daniels was married to Jack Cohen in 1993. The couple lived in the old Daniels family Sherman Ave. residence where she grew up.

Kay’s bother Buddy Daniels has been active in the city and as Democratic Party precinct chair. He serves on the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Buddy joked that it was required to be involved in social activism and aquatic sports in the Daniels family. Both Daniels siblings were involved at different times in operating the Piney Branch Elementary School pool.

Among many other things, Daniels-Cohen founded the Takoma Park Recreation Committee, she served as president of the SS Caroll Neighborhood Association, sat on the city council representing Ward 3, advocated for Takoma Junction redevelopment, and started up a number of small urban gardens. She enjoyed introducing children to gardening, as is reflected in the painting.

Jack Cohen said his family was greatly honored by the memorial mural.

The mural was an Art for the People project, assisted by a Takoma Foundation grant. Art for the People is responsible for several public art pieces around the city, including the library mosaic. Howard Kohn is credited with the original idea. Several people assisted. City resident Jay Keller provided reference photos. The designer was Luke Vawter. He and local artist Alice Sims, who was a close friend of Kay Daniels-Cohen, did the painting. The mural was installed last fall.

Howard Kohn, who continues to teach community gardening, is depicted in the mural. All the other figures are based on actual people.





About the Author

Bill Brown
Bill Brown moved to Takoma Park in 1982. He has been involved in journalism in one way or another since he co-published an underground high-school newspaper in the late 1960s.