Colorful, historical mural greets Mt. Pleasant, trail visitors

October 13, 2018

The result of four community “paint days” in Mt. Pleasant, a new mural titled “History Leaves an Impression” is now complete and on view on a wall of the American Architectural Salvage building facing the Coal & Coke Trail.

The mural, 15 feet high and 40 feet deep, was dedicated Oct. 6 at the 23 W. Main St. building.

It’s part of the Community Arts Reintegration Project for Westmoreland County.

Community members and seven area youths completing community service hours worked alongside mural artist/designer Bernie Wilke and reintegration project director Tim Holler in the giant paint-by-number effort.

Holler, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, says the mural gives those reintegrating into the community a stake in a project and a connection with area residents.

“Coretta Scott King said, ‘The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,’” Holler said during the dedication, attended by several dozen people.

“We dedicate this mural to the people of Mt. Pleasant and the Mt. Pleasant community,” Holler added.

Happy with its completion

Also contributing to the mural’s successful completion was Michael Diehl of Greensburg, who worked on the mural’s installation as his Eagle Scout project, along with members of Boy Scout Troop 478.

“I think it looks great. I’m just glad it’s done and I was able to do something for the community. There was a lot of work behind it, not just from me but from my fellow Scouts and from the community as well. I’m very happy with the way it turned out,” he says.

Diehl earned his Eagle Scout award on Aug. 10, three days before he turned 16.

“It was a good birthday present,” he says.

‘Bringing joy’

Wilke, an art history professor at Westmoreland County Community College, developed the mural from ideas suggested at public meetings.

Numerous aspects of Mt. Pleasant and its history, from the Main Street doughboy to coal mining to the annual celebration of its glass industry, are depicted in the brightly colored mural.

“Think of all the things that bring you joy in your life,” Wilke says.

From balloons to sprinkles on doughnuts, he adds, those things often involve color.

Murals march on

Project coordinators anticipate more murals in the future, with the next one anticipated to take place in New Kensington, Holler says.

Tay Waltenbaugh, Westmoreland Community Action executive director, also spoke on Saturday.

American Architectural Salvage is the organization’s retail store.

“It really epitomizes the region, the area, the community, in so many ways. The color is fantastic,” Waltenbaugh says. “Hopefully the other murals down the road that we have planned will turn out just as well as this.”

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