Reading, PA…. In response to COVID-19 and supporting a strong, unified community, Berks Arts Council in partnership with the City of Reading, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and Reading Parking Authority launched a new initiative, titled Art for Hope, Healing and Community Unity in the Public Realm in June 2020. The initiative sought local artists (amateur-professional) to produce small murals that respond to and are inspired by our community today. By clustering many small murals throughout the target blocks of Cherry and Courts Streets in downtown Reading, PA, viewers will experience a variety of styles of artistic expression.
The project will feature 20 art works to be located on the South Penn garage and the 4th and Cherry garage. Nearly 60 entries were submitted for review and consideration from City of Reading and Berks County residents. The diversity of the artist submissions showcased the incredible artistic talent in our local community. The decisions were not easily made by the committee.
Artists selected to participate in the Outdoor Gallery are:
Ailey Albright, Suzanne Biebuyck, Suzanne Cody, Kimberlee Dawn, Greg Didyoung, Emily Dreibelbis, Serena Ercoli, Hannah High, Zoungy Kligge, Jessie Knuth, Ashley Kolpak, Faith Miravich, Cassi Rodriguez, Marlen Sosa-Rosa, Janice Torres, Enlly Torres, Elizabeth Trumbore, Tammy Updegrove and Kristen Woodward.
The Outdoor Gallery is scheduled to be available for viewing the week of August 17, 2020.
“When Berks Arts Council approached us about the mural project, we were on-board right away,” said Frank Denbowski, chairperson of the Reading Parking Authority board of directors. “Art is a great way to bring the community together and tell Reading’s story. The artwork also makes the garages an interesting place for anyone passing by our buildings.”
Aaron Gantz, Executive Director of Downtown Revitalization shared that “public art plays a critical role in economic and community development through beautification and connectivity, while creating new points of interest for residents + visitors alike. We hope this project will catalyze and empower future public art efforts in the City and downtown area.
The mission of Berks Arts Council is to inspire, engage and unite our community through arts education, collaboration and presentation. Through the creation of the Outdoor Gallery, it is the impetus for additional public art to be installed downtown to bring our neighbors and friends together to walk, bike, drive and enjoy the art along their paths. The artwork will create open discussion, hope and healing for many during this challenging time and beyond. Berks Arts Council is thankful to all the artists who have submitted their art for consideration, Reading Public Authority for their willingness to host the outdoor gallery and GRCA and Berks Alliance for their continued vision and support of the arts downtown.