Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Community Patches Together Mural at Point State Park

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM


Two young children sat under a canopy at Point State Park, equipped with paintbrushes and dishes of blue paint. Their task Tuesday afternoon was to paint the first two canvas squares of the Moving the Lives of Kids (MLK) Community Mural. Their squares were two of 2,400 pieces that will comprise the portable mural, constructed in Point State Park this week during the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.

Earlier, kids from the MLK Community Mural Project had painted the pre-mural in orange paint. "Enviromural" spanned the rectangle in orange letters, and around it swirled affirmations, like “Impossible is nothing,” and “Yes we can.” The mural is hung on a long cyclone fence built along the curving walkway in the portion of the park nearest town. Painted renditions of cats, hearts, Pac-man and other images filled in the remaining white space. Most of the orange-paint expression will be covered, patch-by-patch, beneath the final squares of the mural.

Before the regatta, this group had projected and traced an outline of the final design on an enormous piece of canvas, which they then hand-cut into 2,400 pieces. One by one, community members will help paint the small squares. “It’s sort of like a coloring book,” said Gene Ojeda, an artist and site coordinator with the MLK Community Mural Project. Over the course of the summer, about 50 kids are expected to participate.

The program, founded in 2007 by artist Kyle Holbrook, provides kids with a creative outlet and an opportunity to take ownership and pride in their communities. “We try to help the inner-city youth,” through various summer mural projects in Allegheny County and other communities, said Ojeda.

The project displays 250 murals in Allegheny County and has left its brushstrokes across the country in Miami, in Charlotte, N.C., and outside the U.S. in Haiti and Brazil.

During the mural's creation, a series of cameras are lined up to capture a GigaPan — an image multiple detailed shots of the entire finished product. The Gigapn image will be displayed online. “People will be able to zoom in on their square,” said Ojeda. Individuals can personalize their contribution, perhaps scribbling their name or another message in a slightly different color. These tailored additions will add a textured, complex look to the finished product and will help contributors locate their pieces. This technology also offers time-lapse photography that will show the collaboration step by step.

The project plans to finish in time for the fireworks on Thu., July 4, and will likely be displayed somewhere along the rivers. These artists will continue to recruit help from the community on Wed., July 3, and Thu., July 4, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

One of twenty planned panels that will make up the finished mural.
  • One of twenty planned panels that will make up the finished mural. This one lists the project's sponsors.

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