Local group hopes to enhance Scranton's look with public art, organizing fundraiser

SCRANTON (WOLF) -- A group of local artists are hoping to beautify communities in Scranton with colorful murals.

And city officials are behind the project – 100%.

You might see more murals like this one popping up around Scranton.

“I’ve been out here on the sidewalk before and all of a sudden you see people from out of town or in town coming over here and taking pictures of themselves in front of the mural. And it shows a relative pride in the city,” Ryan Hnat said.

Hnat is one of the artists behind this piece located downtown on the side of Levels Bar and Grill.

He’s also a business owner in the city, and the founder of the Northeast Art Project – or NEAP.

Initially, the group started as the Scranton Mural Project, but decided to change its name to be more inclusive to artists and communities throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.

Their goals are simple: recruiting more artists, gaining exposure for them, and

“Paint as many murals as we can. A mural can really beautify a community. Or eventually create some public sculptures and what not,” Hnat said.

With eight projects already in the works, they’re off to a good start.

And you might think that murals only belong on walls, but take a look at this utility shed on Wyoming Avenue. NEAP artists turned it into a work of art.

“Nobody even knew what it was until people started talking about it and it really looks like a completely different structure now and, like I said, it went from being an eye sore to now something beautiful to look at, stop by, and take a picture with,” Scranton City Council President Pat Rogan said.

Rogan says the city is fully on-board with the artists’ vision.

And he already has other locations in mind for more murals.

“Having public art, its just another feature of our downtown community and now that people are living in the downtown, it makes more of that big city feel, but also having the small city presence,” Rogan said.

Hnat is hoping for a balance between public and commercial works along with fundraising to ensure the group has enough funding to create as much art as possible.

NEAP is planning a mural-themed scavenger hunt later this month that will serve as a fundraiser for creating more murals.

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