Mural is to commemorate 90 years


Natasha Bazika

This is the progress so far on the Pitt-Johnstown 90th anniversary mural on a support wall for state Route 56, the Johnstown expressway. Artist Stacie Krupa is painting the mural.

Rachel Logan, Copy Editor

Commissioned artist Stacie Krupa of Islamadora, Florida, is painting a 173-foot mural in Johnstown’s Kernville neighborhood to commemorate Pitt-Johnstown’s 90-year anniversary.

Krupa has completed painting a heart and a mountain cat on either side of a concrete tableau at the John P. Murtha regional Cancer Center site along Somerset Street.

The canvas is a side of a concrete support structure for an elevated state Route 56, the Johnstown Expressway.

She said that while the outside edges have started to develop, the middle section is to be a surprise unveiled before winter.

“The word I want to hear is ‘wow,’ and I think that’s what I’m going to hear when people see it,” she said

The mural is to portray “the great things that come out of Pitt-Johnstown and the great things that come out of the area,” Krupa said, celebrating education and the positive impact Pitt-Johnstown has on the area.

Krupa has a master’s degree in painting from the University of Miami and said she has been painting professionally since she was 12 years old. She has been on three Home and Garden TV shows with builder Bryan Baeumler, painting colorful animal portraits for homes.

Krupa said that the mural is about a quarter done and should be completed in another month, or before the first snow.

“Otherwise, you’ll just see me frozen up there on the ladder with a paintbrush in my hand,” she said.

Krupa declined to reveal how much she was being paid to paint the mural.

“It’s an honor just to be able to do the project. It’s significant for me to do it; it’s a give-back,” she said.

Krupa claims to have residences in Princeton, New Jersey, Islamadora, Florida and Ebensburg. She said she has traveled frequently between her five galleries and studios.

According to Pitt-Johnstown Community and Public Relations Executive Director Tammy Barbin, the middle of Krupa’s mural will represent Pitt-Johnstown’s deeper connection to the city.

“The painted wall mural will depict the city of Johnstown and University (of Pittsburgh)’s history over the past century with images that convey and celebrate the vitality of the city and the role education has played in its collective growth,” said Barbin via email.

Barbin said there is to be a second graphic installed for the anniversaries: a timeline in Blackington Hall.

“It will be a timeline of the campus history,” she said, “featuring all five Pitt-Johnstown presidents and a sampling of significant events, accomplishments and growth that were celebrated with each era.”

The 24-foot timeline is to be unveiled at Blackington Hall’s open house Sept. 22 to show off renovations completed over the summer.