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Tying together local and national culture in a work of art is no easy feat—particularly when said work of art is the size of a building.
Muralist Katie Trainer’s latest work does just this, binding national history and pride together with a message of local involvement.
Trainer is currently in the process of finishing up a roughly 450 square foot mural at the Lebanon County Democratic Committee, 23 S. 6th Street. Phase one of the mural was completed in November.
The mural will be officially unveiled tonight at around 6:45 p.m. Trainer and members of the Mural 90 Committee, which organized the mural’s production, will hold a meet and greet at that time.
The currently untitled liberty mural features symbols of the US alongside local cultural artifacts. The Statue of Liberty, the Constitution and flag imagery are employed alongside a prominent sun hex sign.
Hex signs are common in Pennsylvania Dutch country and can often be seen painted on old barns. By including one, Trainer hopes to tap into local culture and pride.
“My personal idea for Lebanon is that I think a lot of people are still in the mindset of the Great Depression and the steel industry having left town, there’s this gap,” said Trainer. “My idea is that the imagery can help to inspire people and help get people full of zest and excitement again.”
The second largest mural Trainer has worked on, it features bright colors and patterns toward the top to catch the attention of cars passing by.
“It is something that people that live or walk or drive by every day will see,” she said. “You have that opportunity to make an impact on somebody’s day every day.”
Despite being on the side of the Democratic Headquarters, the mural is politically neutral. In fact, equal amounts of blue and red are used to signify this.
“I wanted it to be a very neutral and appreciated unity piece,” said Trainer. “[The message is] just get out and start being passionate and caring.”
Last year, Trainer received the Pennsylvania Revitalization of a Public Space Townie Award for her work on West Reading’s Mural Corridor.
That project inspired her to pursue a similar idea here. She hopes to paint a few more murals in the area and encourage local artists to do the same.
“I want to make a sort of healthy outdoor walkspace and have it connect into HACC as well,” she said. “That’s my personal goal for that funding.”
While murals may seem inexpensive, the cost to effectively prep the surface and pay for quality materials can be high. Trainer estimated the material costs for this mural to total around $2,500.
At the moment, Trainer has raised around $2,000 for future projects, over $1,200 of which she raised through a Facebook fundraiser.
To learn more about the project, follow Mural-90 on Facebook.