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Have you noticed State College getting more colorful? Here’s what’s behind 2 new murals

Public art brightens up State College

Artist William Snyder is brightening up downtown State College with two new murals. "Wild Geese" now covers the Humes Alley wall, after community volunteers helped lay out and paint the mural.
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Artist William Snyder is brightening up downtown State College with two new murals. "Wild Geese" now covers the Humes Alley wall, after community volunteers helped lay out and paint the mural.

The gloomy months are upon us, but two new murals by local artist William Snyder III are adding color to downtown State College.

The first, a mural on Humes Alley called “Wild Geese,” was finished over the weekend with the help of several community members. The colorful, geometric mural was inspired by “Wild Geese,” a poem by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver.

“It was a long process getting the approval to do this mural — it has been in the works since the summer,” Snyder said, “but completing the mural took only two weekends.”

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Community members helped with the completion of “Wild Geese,” artist William Snyder III’s new mural in downtown State College. Photo provided

Snyder received the September $1,000 grant through the Trailhead grant program to get started on the project. Working with 12 or so community members made the lay out and painting a quick process.

“Having this project be community-based shows that people are interested in public art and that it’s not ghastly expensive to produce,” Snyder said. “Art is something you don’t know you need until you see it — that’s the value in having public art.”

The new mural stretches from the corner of For Men Only leading down the alley to Webster’s Bookstore Cafe.

Webster’s owner Elaine Meder-Wilgus said she’s excited about the new addition.

“I love the mural and I love that it’s based on a poem by Mary Oliver — public art is something I’d like to see more of,” Meder-Wilgus said. “When we invest in the shared beauty of the community, everyone can enjoy it — this mural speaks volumes to the value of this town.”

State College Mayor Donald Hahn called the mural “an outstanding addition to State College’s growing art scene” and hopes to see more public art throughout the borough.

“Public art is a community’s proclamation of the strength of its culture,” Hahn said in an email. “Increased public arts and the establishment of a cultural arts district downtown are priorities of State College Borough. We hope to see more murals by William Snyder III, a rejuvenation of the rainbow crosswalks on a more permanent basis, and decorations on our traffic control boxes in the future.”

In addition to the “Wild Geese” mural, Snyder is working on a new mural on the back of The State Theatre titled, “Be.”

While still in the works, “Be” features a bright background of “Jamaica Blue.” Snyder will be working on the new mural over the next few weeks.

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William Snyder III works Tuesday on “Be,” his latest public art project in downtown State College. Snyder will be working on “Be,” located on the back of The State Theatre, over the next few weeks. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

“We’re unsure of why art helps to make you feel better, but it does,” Snyder said.

As for future additions of public art, Snyder is always looking to do more in the downtown area.

“I’m always looking to do more public art and to bring more dynamic work downtown,” Snyder said, “it helps make the surroundings more enjoyable.”

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