SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – A business in Sharon is getting a face lift — and it’s helping at-risk youth in the neighborhood.
Reyers Shoe Store will soon be home to a 180-foot mural painted by renowned street artist Joel Bergner.
Bergner has been working with several local children from the Hope Center for Arts and Technology all week long to complete this project. It’s part of the Adding Color To Lives initiative, which is a program started by the Park Inn by Radisson to help children in difficult situations learn to express themselves through art.
“I couldn’t contain the excitement,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of Hope Center for Arts. “Because this is big. This is big for our region.”
“Joel does these in third-world countries. He does them in Africa, he does them in India, he does them in Israel — and he’s doing one right here in Sharon.”
Sharon’s Park Inn won a nationwide challenge to receive the artwork by collaborating with Hope Center for Arts and Technology.
The 180-foot mural will be on the side of Reyers Shoe Store.
Everyone painting Saturday said the mural is a reflection of the beauty and promise within the community.
“When I arrived, I didn’t know what we were going to do,” Bergner said. “And we all got together and they came up with the ideas and discussed what’s important in terms of their culture and social issues and their community.”
Local artist Hannah Wilhelm helped the teens come up with the concept of the mural.
“I was there for the planning meeting,” she said. “So I did a little bit of brainstorming with the students, as well. And Tom came up to me — I was actually at the ceramics studio at Circle K — and Tom came up to me and said, ‘Hey we want your face on the mural.'”
Now that Wilhelm will be forever cemented into the Sharon landscape, she says she’s more inspired than ever to make a difference in the community.
“I want people to look up to me,” Wilhelm said. “I want to be a light that people see.”
Bergner and the local youth will finish the mural by the end of this week. The unveiling ceremony will be on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
“Their vision is being realized on the wall,” Bergner said. “They’re actually seeing that their voice does matter, and that they can contribute and make a positive contribution to their community.”