Bring on Play brings 20 new sidewalk murals to York
Murals completed and in progress
• "Lava" mural by Gian Feliciano, York County School of Technology, located at Broad Street Greenway by the Senior Center
• "Steps Across the Rainbow" by Lisa Nguyen, York County School of Technology, located at Central Market on Beaver Street
• "Bubbles" mural by Paige Smeltzer, York Suburban High School, located at Penn Market on Market Street
• "Pond" mural by Autumn Edwards, local artist, located at Farquhar Park along North Newberry Street and Jefferson Avenue (about 1 block south from Ferguson School)
• "Labrynth" mural by Annalisa Gojmerac, local artist, located in the southeast corner of Market Square
Walking to school can be a gloomy chore, but the Bring on Play program of the Eat Play Breathe York initiative is working to change that.
Local artists are designing and painting sidewalk murals around the city that incorporate play, whether that's hop scotch or tic-tac-toe.
In October, Cori Strathmeyer of Eat Play Breathe York, Tom Landis of the city's recreation and parks bureau, Mayor Kim Bracey, and Shaun Underkoffler from the city's health department attended a "playful city" conference in Chicago. While there, they heard about research that found children from low-income families spend more time with their caregivers, but it's not quality time, Strathmeyer said. So the group is trying to give kids fun things to do while they go about their everyday activities like going to the laundromat, waiting at a bus stop or walking to school.
See photos of the mural along North Beaver Street in front of Central Market.
The goal is to have 20 murals around the city done by the fall, said Abbigail Stephens, Eat Play Breathe York's intern. Read about phase two of the project. Right now there are five completed, all having an abstract form of play. One mural is a garden-themed maze, another is a pond with lilly pads for hopscotch. Another mural that is coming soon is of book covers from fables but the characters won't have faces, kids can draw their own with sidewalk chalk.
The garden was artist Annalisa Gojmerac's inspiration for her maze on the square. She loves gardening, and York County has an urban environment tied to agriculture, she said. Gojmerac, of Jackson Township, says she has been an artist since birth. She wanted York County reflected in the maze with history as well. The design is a traditional Celtic maze, she said.
"[The maze design] is a symbol that keeps being used throughout history but you can still make it new and alive," she said, just like York's history. The maze is painted, she just has to add things like lady bugs and snakes to make it garden-like. Kids can jump over the snakes while walking through, making it a full-body cardio workout, Gojmerac said.
The maze is painted with children in mind, but mazes have been used for meditative practices, too. It's a calming spot in the middle of a busy downtown, she said.
The murals are permanent, they're using Olympic paint that was donated by Loews, but minor touch ups may be needed yearly.
If an artist would like to get involved, they can send a sketch of a mural to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up on United Way's website, www.unitedway-york.org . There's also a Facebook event that is updated on Bring on Play's page.