Propel Pitcairn Gets New Mural To Encourage Reading

Aug 11, 2016

Volunteers painted a vibrant mural at Propel Pitcairn charter school Wednesday in hopes of encouraging students to read more.

 Artist Lynne Mack said she hopes her colorful work, featuring bright-eyed animals gathering books, will inspire kids to read.

“Everything I do, I make gender neutral so that it appeals to both boys and girls,” she said. “They get so excited, they’ll touch it and point to (the animals). They just get so excited about seeing it.”

Muralist Lynne Mack says she tries to make her paintings accessible for all children.
Credit Steve Jordan / 90.5 WESA

The mural is on a wall near the entrance to a first grade classroom, so students in all grades will walk past it.

First grade teacher Kaitlin Anselmo said the painting means more than just “go read.”

“(School) is their home away from home eight hours every day, and we’re showing our students and our families that we really care about the school and we really care about the environment where they’re coming each and every day," she said. "I think that’s going to be a very powerful message.”

Anselmo said classroom colors have a huge impact on elementary-age students. Atmosphere adjustments can change a student’s attention span, motivation and attitude.

Although the painting is for the children, faculty like first grade teacher Alex Hauser, said they’re encouraged and take pride in the work.

“Letting them know what work went into this painting and showing them pictures of the volunteers from the community,” she said. “I really think this is going to let us instill a sense of pride in our students.”

PPG and United Way joined together for the initiative dubbed Colorful Communities, a project to encourage education through art in neighborhood schools. Work will continue this month in Homewood, the Hill District and Shadyside.