YSUscape, a new student group, is on a mission to enrich Youngstown State University and the city of Youngstown with their artistic skills.
Enzo Recchia and Nick Chretien, two art majors at YSU, formed the student organization in late April after they surveyed the surrounding areas of Youngstown and saw how many parts of the city had fallen into disrepair.
Recchia, the president of YSUscape, said the goal is to liven up parts of campus and the city that are important to students.
“We originally started to form a student group that was dedicated to convene city-wide projects and school projects to help better the city and make it more beautiful,” Recchia said.
The group officially started their first project as a student group on 823 Elm St. across from the Cafaro House and the Flats at Wick — even though they have been involved in countless projects with the city up to this point. The project is going to be a mural that highlights different parts of Youngstown on the R&S Building. Chretien, vice president of YSUscape, said that he wanted to rid the space of its negativity.
“There’s Cafaro, the Flats and Dorian Books, and they are all nice quarters on Elm and Madison. This is one corner that people have odd nicknames for, and they referred to it as negative to YSU and the city as a whole so we decided to improve the corner of this corridor,” Chretien said.
Recchia added that another reason for the project was the location.
“We chose this project because it was right across from student housing,” he said. “It just looked terrible before, and we are trying to beautify Youngstown.”
The project is going to be a painting composed of various buildings in Youngstown, including Stambaugh Field, Beeghly Center, the YSU Tower, the St. Columba Cathedral, the bridge connecting downtown, the Home Savings Building and the skyline of the city.
Chretien said the group began the project earlier this year by applying primer, an undercoating that prepares a surface for the paint, but the mural is now starting to come together.
“We started earlier in the year because we wanted to have it done before the end of the school year,” he said. “We started priming it, and the brick was hard to prime because it absorbed so much primer, and after that it was just the easy part of getting it up onto the wall. People were having fun because it actually started to look like a mural instead of a white wall.”
YSUscape is planning to add 7- to 8-foot penguins to their painting and are going to officially unveil the mural to the public at their tailgate party on Sept. 6.
Currently, the group has 10 to 15 members that actively participate, but Chretien said that once the week progresses, the group would have about 30 members total.
“We were going to do the project one way or another and as students at YSU, we thought becoming a student organization would be the most efficient way possible of getting the job done, and the benefits that come with that. It’s given us a good platform to expose ourselves to other students at the student organization fair that student activities put on,” Chretien said.
The group is also planning ahead. Chretien said that they have already consulted with Shannon Tirone, chief of staff at YSU, to repaint the penguin fire hydrants on campus.
“Someone said they are 20 years old, the paint, and we have already talked with Tirone about painting the fire hydrants so we might help repaint them. We have countless other things that we can do to make the city look better and make the school look better to perspective students,” Chretien said.
Recchia said that they are available on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and any students that would like to join are more than welcome.
“We use social media every single time we are out here. We post regularly on Facebook, and we get a lot of people involved through this media,” he said. “Anyone that wants to get involved can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can add them to the list.”