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Artist will discuss community murals at next East Suburban Artists League meeting

November 10, 2018

Whether it’s a massive community mural or a piece depicting a small portion of the human body, artist Bernie Wilke is always thinking deeply about his art.

Wilke said he envisions using art “to strengthen communities and cultivate personal and social wellness through beauty and collaboration.”

The Meadville native will be the featured speaker at the next East Suburban Artists League meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Christ Lutheran Church, 5330 Logan Ferry in Murrysville.

Much of Wilke’s work planning and painting more than 70 community murals is on full public display throughout Pennsylvania. It’s a passion he’s had for the past 18 years, creating murals in Pittsburgh, Indiana and Philadelphia just to name a few places.

“I really like engaging with communities,” he said. “It’s such an honor to be able to work with people and come up with an idea that shows what they think about their town or school.”

Conceiving, planning and painting a mural takes between one and two years on average, Wilke said.

His recent studio works, a series titled “Innerscapes,” takes place on a much smaller level.

“I’m generally interested in the paradox of a spiritual presence being contained within a fleshly body,” Wilke said. “I want to try and come to terms with that in some way.”

The series was inspired by the experiences of children living at a local youth home, where Wilke was doing an artist residency.

“Just knowing some of the trauma that some of those kids had experienced, it had a profound effect on me,” he said. “It was a response to the pain and suffering I see in the world around me and also kind of a way to portray the existence of spirituality in a carnal body.”

Wilke will lead an interactive presentation of some of his community mural projects at the ESAL meeting, discuss the planning and development process, and also share selections from the “Innerscapes” series.

There is no cost to attend, and guests are welcome.

For more, see ESALart.org or call Nancy Dalverny at 412-373-0711.

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