‘More life and more color’: The artists behind Harrisburg’s new murals

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Artists working in Midtown, spreading gallons of paint on a brick wall, are leading an effort to beautify the city.

They ask the question: where does art belong? Their answer: everywhere. And they’re making that a reality one brush stroke at a time.

“I think everybody wants to see more art,” said Megan Davis, an artist with the group Sprocket Mural Works.

000006This art is hard to miss; that’s how Davis likes it.

“Add more life and more color,” she said.

“Adds color to the community,” Sheldon Sawatzky, a Midtown resident, said.

Sprocket’s latest work, started Thursday and projected to be finished by the end of this week, towers on the side of Midtown Cinema and Zeroday Brewing Company on Reily Street.

000007“We went through a series of concepts,” Davis said, “and this one was voted by the community.”

It features “Harrisburg” in large yellow letters, surrounded by artistic renderings of trees, clouds, and a rising and setting sun.

The community, not the city, helped fund the project, too. Midtown Cinema partnered with the muralist group.

“The neighborhood has donated,” Davis added. “People and individuals have donated to make this happen.”

000002That’s Sprocket’s M.O. There are four other murals scattered around the city, at Third and Boas streets in Midtown, Third and Blackberry streets Downtown, Seventh and Maclay streets in Uptown, and in Riverfront Park near North Street.

“To me, it’s just beautiful,” said Jennifer Nichols, walking past the flowery stencils overlooking the Susquehanna.

“It’s the color, the vitality of it just brings some hope, some excitement to the city,” Nick Nichols said.

Harrisburg has been coming up with ideas for its new comprehensive plan; big, public art projects are popular proposals.

000004“I just think it’s so important for the community to have it and enjoy it,” Jennifer Nichols said.

“There should just be art outside everywhere in the community,” Davis said.

This paint — “A special kind of mural paint,” she said — is meant to last decades. The message, though, is timeless.

“There’s a lot to a city other than just the buildings,” Nick Nichols said.

000005“It can do a lot of good things for the city, I think,” Davis said. “Hopefully this will make a lot of people happy.”

Sprocket hopes to keep finding businesses and groups to partner with around Harrisburg so they can keep spreading their public art.

They also hope to hold a mural festival next year.

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