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York just got six new murals in one fell swoop

Written by Brett Sholtis/The York Daily Record | Jul 5, 2017 3:08 AM
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Artist Ralphie Seguinot uses a paint roller to work on a mural Saturday, July 1, 2017, in the Royal Square District in York. Artists curated by Harrisburg-based Sprocket Mural Works worked on six murals to be completed by Monday in the Royal Square area. Chris Dunn, York Daily Record

(York) -- York just got hit with a lot of fresh paint. 

Artists converged on the city's Royal Square neighborhood last weekend, and by Monday afternoon it was home to six new murals. 

The project pairs up buildings owned by members of the Royal Square neighborhood with Sprocket Mural Works, a nonprofit artist's group based in Harrisburg.

Graphic designer Meg Davis and artist Jeff Copus formed Sprocket to do something good for Harrisburg, Davis said. 

"Public art is a sign of a healthy city," Davis said. "It's a wonderful way to instill pride in a community."

A weekend-long "pop-up mural festival" is leaving six walls in the Royal Square District coated with freshly painted murals to help define the area. Chris Dunn, York Daily Record

When RSDC CEO Josh Hankey, who is part-owner of the properties, showed interest in bringing the muralists' project to York, Davis jumped onboard. "I feel like maybe York can relate to Harrisburg a little bit," Davis said.  

The murals are in the neighborhood Hankey was instrumental in branding Royal Square, referring to its location near South Duke Street and East King Street. 

History buffs may already know about York's commemorative murals. The new murals, however, don't focus on history, but rather York's artistic community and identity, Davis said.

To that end, choosing the right artists for the job was one of the most important steps in the process. She decided to go with three York-based artists and three from out of town. 

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Sean Byrne and Andi Simpson work on a mural Saturday, July 1, 2017, in the Royal Square District in York. Artists curated by Harrisburg-based Sprocket Mural Works worked on six murals to be completed by Monday in the Royal Square area. "Simply putting paint on a wall can change the way people look at a space," said Sprocket Mural Works co-founder Jeff Copus. "Spaces can be utilized more fully if a mural is there." (Photo: Chris Dunn, York Daily Record)

 

York artist Andi Simpson worked on wall that, three years ago, had been overgrown with vines, Davis said. "Now it's somewhere to be proud of."

Anyone who visits the recently-opened "back alley cantina" near Taste Test York will see Harrisburg artist Aron Rook's mural, a more-than 20-foot tall, brightly colorful owl.   

The murals use paint that is resistant to fading, Davis said. It costs about $150 per gallon, which is more than four times as much as regular house paint.

"The colors are really intense," Davis said. "Applied correctly, our murals should last decades." 

Those involved chose surfaces such as cinder block and stucco so that the murals would "respect and maintain the character of the neighborhood," Hankey said. 

Hankey hopes the project will help to drive home the idea that the Royal Square neighborhood is "a destination for the arts." He pointed to Parliament, Hive art space, King's Courtyard Artist Collective and Prime Art Supply as other nearby attractions for art lovers.

For those interested in viewing the murals, a good starting point is the parking area near Collusion Tap Works, where at least two murals should be visible, Davis said. From there, the search is on for the rest of them.  

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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