Two summers ago, Harrisburg became a far more colorful city, as 18 murals sprung up in the downtown and Midtown neighborhoods.
Now, the group responsible for this surge of large scale, outdoor art is planning a repeat performance, as Sprocket Mural Works has begun organizing the 2019 HBG Mural Fest.
So, the call is out for sponsors, artists and volunteers, with a goal of mounting another 10 murals over 10 days in the late summer.
“We would like to fill in the gaps of our mural trail,” said co-organizer Megan Caruso. “We want to fill in the gaps so we can have a more mural-dense area.”
The trail, Caruso said, begins near the Harrisburg train station and runs for about two miles roughly up 3rd Street, with some additional stops in Shipoke and along the river walk. She said that, while the first HBG Mural Fest laid a great foundation, more density is needed so that people easily can walk from one mural to another.
Caruso said that she’d like to follow the example of Philadelphia, whose mural trail has become a true tourist attraction.
“In Harrisburg, people could get off the train and start their tour right there,” she said, adding that she’d also like to mount at least one mural on Allison Hill. “We want Harrisburg to be a mural-dense city, so they have to be concentrated.”
Sprocket’s impact on tourism has already been noted, as Visit Hershey & Harrisburg last year honored Sprocket with one of its annual tourism awards, “The Best New Event Award.”
This year, the Mural Fest will begin on Aug. 30 and will culminate with a block party on State Street downtown on Gallery Walk day, Sept. 8. Like in 2017, the 10-day festival will include many accompanying events, such as receptions, a community paint day, a bike tour and educational events.
In 2017, the greatest spectacle may have been watching the world-class artists go about their work, as crowds of people gathered around as the murals took shape. Caruso expects the same this year.
“People love to watch the art come to life,” she said.
According to Caruso, Sprocket is still in the process of signing up sponsors for the murals, so they welcome additional support from the community. So far, sponsors include companies such as LCSWMA and Premier Eye Care Group.
Caruso said that the 2017 event exceeded her expectations. Although 10 murals were planned, the group ended up painting 18.
“Hopefully, we’ll stick to 10 murals this year!” she said.
The 2019 HBG Mural Fest will run Aug. 30 to Sept. 8. For more information, including how to become a sponsor, donate or volunteer, visit www.sprocketmuralworks.com.
Disclosure: Megan Caruso is creative director for TheBurg.
Photos for Dani Fresh.