Neighbors paint sections of the mural, to be installed later this summer.
A new piece of community art is taking shape near Cascade Park through a partnership with a homeowner, Gannon University, Our West Bayfront, and the Bay and Harbor Neighborhood Association. Neighbors have been invited to paint portions of a 48’ x 9’ mural, to be installed in early summer on the home of Mrs. Esther Tregler.
At 101 years old, Mrs. Tregler is extremely pleased to have the neighborhood be actively engaged in this artwork. Community-influenced art is a method of community development that interweaves the fabric of a community through citizen involvement, and builds community pride and neighborhood revitalization.
Artist Tom Ferraro was commissioned by Gannon’s community engagement department, Erie-GAINS, to lead this community art project through a donation from Key Bank intended to be a collaborative project between Our West Bayfront, Gannon University, and community members. Cassidy Cartwright (GU ’23, Digital Media and Communications Major) was hired to assist Ferraro, allowing her to be exposed to community art and to learn from Ferraro while utilizing the digital skills she has gained in college, creating a piece of art intended to last for generations.
Ferraro has completed about 30 different pieces of community artwork in the last ten years and values the community engagement aspect to drive the people and the place into each piece. This process ensures the community has a voice in each piece of work. For example, Ferraro worked with an 8th-grade art class at Mother Theresa Academy who participated in this as a classroom art project. Students were asked to create a drawing incorporating the shape of an arch with something musical and nautical.
Mr. and Mrs. Tregler both played in the Erie Philharmonic and took weekly drives around the Peninsula, which all influenced the design of the mural.
This community-informed artwork contributes to the vision developed by the Strong Vincent Middle School ArtForce afterschool program of a series of work of art along Cascade Street leading to the waterfront, tying to the Cascade Path Sun Gate at the top of Cascade Trail, the walkway that connects Cascade Street to the waterfront.
This art project is supported through Erie-Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability (Erie-GAINS) which is Gannon’s partnership to coordinate strategic initiatives to improve the sustainability and viability of downtown Erie and surrounding neighborhoods.
The donation from Key Bank is part of the Gannon University Capital Campaign.
The mural is expected to be installed in early summer.