That’s certainly how owner Ted Walke wants people to feel when they experience “The Burg 2” art exhibit, slated for Jan. 14 to March 12.
“The city has so much to tell,” Walke said, as he prepared his gallery for the exhibit. “There’s a level of pride in being part of Harrisburg. When art can showcase that, it can be the wave that the community rises on.”
Walke and his wife, Linda, hosted their first “The Burg” exhibit in 2010, with the intention of featuring local artists who could showcase everything from abstract to contemporary pieces that represented a slice of Harrisburg.
Many people who visited the first show recognized their homes or favorite hangout spots captured on canvas, film or paper.
Walke remembers the reaction to the initial exhibit, people grabbing framed art straight off the wall and bringing it to the front counter for purchase. Whatever was behind the frame spoke so deeply to them that they had to have it, he said.
He hopes for the same response this time around, especially since the gallery’s share of the sale will go back into the arts through Sprocket Mural Works, a group dedicated to creating vibrant community murals throughout Harrisburg.
“There’s a really good feeling we have about doing this,” Walke said. “We know that art can impact the community, and, if we can help that progress in Harrisburg, then we feel we’re on the right path.”
Community donations are what keep Sprocket Mural Works running, said its co-founder, Jeff Copus, who’s also the art education director with Jump Street.
Formed about two years ago, Sprocket has completed about 10 different murals throughout the city, ranging from a geometric-inspired mural at the Kindergarten Academy on Filbert Street to a colorful tree celebrating diversity along Kittatinny Street in Allison Hill.
The organization uses every cent to place art throughout the city, the donations off-setting costs that range from paying artists to buying high-quality paint supplies, Copus said.
“Funding is one of the largest things we have to overcome right now,” he said. “The more money we have, the more projects we can do, and we’ve often been in a place where a lack of funds has kept us from doing more. When we have someone from the community recognize our efforts and choose to support us, it really means a lot.”
Any money raised through the Gallery@Second exhibit will be applied to 2016 projects, he said. This includes a large mural planned for April on the west wall of Midtown Cinema.
Painting a mural on the broadside of a two- to three-story row home can cost about $12,000, or about $10 per square foot, Copus said. A few factors play into that, including whether the wall is in good condition and what the artist charges for his or her work. The paint used for the murals is also expensive but is a high-quality, high-pigment paint meant to last about 30 years. Most exterior paint grades found at the hardware store will start to degrade after about five years.
“We want to go into these neighborhoods and offer more than a Band-Aid on their buildings,” Copus said. “We want to provide something lasting, something inspiring.”
All Around Us
Artist Karen Commings is delighted that her contribution to the exhibit will not only bring art into someone’s home, but will help provide art to entire neighborhoods through the gallery’s donation, she said.
No matter how many times she’s photographed Harrisburg, there is a new scene, a different angle or a change in the light that gets her to look at the city differently, she said.
The photograph she submitted for “The Burg 2” captures a scene down North Street taken from the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol. After adjusting the highlights to bring out the white in the image, it looks more like a watercolor than a photograph, she said.
“I’d like for people to see the photo and look at that scene as they never have before,” she said. “How many times do we pass certain things and not pay attention to them? As an artist, I try to find beauty in the things people often do not even notice. There is beauty in the everyday and mundane.”
For Walke, the hope is that each person who visits “The Burg 2” walks away with that same sense of awe. He hopes a passion for the city is rekindled through the framed art that hangs on the walls of his gallery.
“If we can get that pride to flow through the streets of Harrisburg, into the lives of each and every person who lives here, then I think we’ve accomplished something great,” he said. “Art is all around us in Harrisburg. Sometimes, we just need someone to show it to us.”
Gallery@Second, 608 N. 2nd St. in Harrisburg, will host “The Burg 2” from Jan. 14 to March 12. For more information, visit www.galleryatsecond.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Sprocket Mural Works can be found at www.sprocketmuralworks.com.