Since 2014, Sprocket Mural Works has commissioned more than 50 pieces of public art throughout the city of Harrisburg.

Visitors to Midtown may be familiar with the mural along the wall of the Midtown Cinema on Reily Street. Taking a cue from the Hollywood sign, a design by Jeff Copus, which was painted by Jacintha Clark and Sharnee Burnett, incorporates the city’s name in a decorative font with the phases of the sun and a nod to the flowering trees familiar to the neighborhood.

Further downtown, Carlisle artist Aron Rook has created an exotic portrait of a woman with wild, brightly colored locks, which peaks out along Third Street in the heart of the city. It is the unexpected bursts of color and designs that seek to beautify the city through original public art.

To intensify their mission to increase community pride and civic engagement in Harrisburg through united creative action, Sprocket Mural Works’ kicked off its inaugural Harrisburg Mural Festival on Sept. 1. The festival is two weeks of focused city beautification through the creation of 10 murals by local, national and even international artists. In addition to the painting of murals, the festival will feature community events and conclude with a Festival Closing Block Party on Sept. 10.

Visiting Harrisburg over the coming days, one can follow the progress of the murals slated for completion by the festival’s closing.

Belarusian artists, Julia Yu-Baba and Key Detail, were seen adding colors to the seemingly free-handed sketch that spanned from the ground to the building’s apex on North Third Street at Underground Bicycle. Flowers in pink, purple and green emerged at one corner, as swirling lines denote the design to follow.

A much more regimented technique seemed to be the basis for the work of Ralphie Seguinot, also known as SR81, a well-known Harrisburg street artist. Working on the south wall of Sayford Market on Third Street, a numbered grid pattern was followed as the artist used stencils and aerosol paints. A child’s soulful gaze was emerging from the process, layered upon a rich background of purple and blue.

Lancaster-based artist GoWelsh! also used the purple palette with a solid base color adorned with a simple, yet eye-catching symbol: an oversized ampersand extending almost 20 feet in height. This is sure to be the destination for pictures on a visit to Midtown.

Moving downtown, as one travels up Market Street, be sure to look up to catch Texas native Daniel Black’s mural. Painting on the upper floor of 313 Market St., Black uses a white background and light, bright colors for the outstretched hands, which appear to be reaching for one another. Surrounded by bright blue skies, as well as the rising floors of nearby office buildings, the work in progress is a contrast to both.

The historic Shipoke portion of the city will have an exciting addition to its park as local landscape artist, Jonathan Frazier, contributes his first exterior mural. As he lay down a neutral base of a pastoral scene, Frazier joked that “working large is liberating for an artist, and it doesn’t get any larger than this!”

He will be adding the colors in the coming days to reflect the details of the original painting from which Frazier was working.

Walk along the upper stretches of Riverfront Park to find the work of Harrisburg native James Dunn upon five sections near the Susquehanna River. Reflecting the natural beauty of the area, his murals represent the waterways, mountains and local wildlife. Using tools ranging from paint rollers on long poles to fine-tipped brushes, broad strokes and small details are both present within his work.

For Dunn, he sees the purpose of his murals as “promoting a community dialogue,” and in this project that dialogue includes the recognition and celebration of the natural beauty of the region.

The Harrisburg Mural Festival should inspire viewers to engage in an artistic and civic dialogue through the exploration of the city and its diverse communities, as well as share with others the art that enhances the beauty of the city of Harrisburg.

Sprocket Mural Works’ 2017 Harrisburg Mural Festival runs through Sept. 10. Community Paint Day will be held Sept. 9 from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot of Zeroday Brewing Company and the Midtown Cinema at 250 Reily Street, Harrisburg. The Festival Closing Block Party will be held on State Street, between 2nd and 3rd streets, from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 10.

For a full list of mural festival events, visit www.sprocketmuralworks.com/festival-events.

Joseph George holds a degree in history and art history from Dickinson College. He and his wife, Barrie Ann have spent much of their 25 years together traveling and visiting art galleries locally and throughout the world. Their tastes range from fine art to street art.

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