On Saturday Sept. 6, YSUscape held the grand opening of their mural, located at the corner of Elm Street and Madison Avenue.
The mural is a part of YSUscape’s ongoing effort to restore and beautify the Youngstown area. It depicts symbols that people identify with the area, such as penguins — the mascot of Youngstown State University — and the 5th Avenue Bridge.
Kenna Fusillo, a member of YSUscape, participated in the mural’s creation as well as other projects with the organization.
“We’re just trying to make [the Youngstown area] nicer for everyone to have a good time, and have nice properties around them, and create an environment where people want to be down here,” Fusillo said.
The members of the organization created the mural with help from local artists Jacob Harver and Jason Van Hoose, both graduates of YSU.
The mural, originally conceived during the spring 2014 semester, was completed on Thursday, Sept. 4 after several months of work.
Anthony Marchionda, YSUscape’s treasurer, was pleased with the outcome of the mural, but he believes there is more the group can do for the area.
“The mural is done, but we’re not done with this area yet,” Marchionda said. “We want to do some more landscaping around here and make the lots nicer; maybe touch up the building on the other side [of the mural].”
Marchionda said the mural’s location was chosen largely due to its visibility.
“The reason we picked this location for the mural is that we wanted something for people to see. People driving up Elm Street to the north side every day get to see this. Kids coming back from class going to Cafaro, Lyden and The Flats — they have something to see,” Marchionda said.
Fusillo said seeing what the city of Youngstown was and could be again is a driving force for the group.
“Seeing all the potential [the Youngstown area] has and all the ruins it has; seeing everything that’s run down and how nice it can be motivates us,” Fusillo said.
The mural itself is painted on one such ruin. The building whose wall acted as the canvas was a rundown store front, formerly housing the now closed R&S Foods.
Marchionda encourages people to join the organization as they continue their efforts to improve the area.
“At YSUscape, anybody can join … anybody can get involved and volunteer,” Marchionda said.