Client: Erie Arts and Culture
Location: Erie, PA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $8,000
Sarah Jacobs Art
Erie Arts and Culture
Outdoor Acrylic on Polytab Mural Commission, Erie PA, 2022
– 5 whole 100 x 39.5” window boards (1st & 2nd floor) & 2 half window boards (3rd floor), Acrylic on Polytab, 2022
– Commissioned by Erie Arts and Culture on a building along a designated safe walking route to Wilson Middle School.
– Corner of 25th and Ash Streets, Erie, PA
The larger project that this mural was part of is Erie Arts and Culture's "Purposeful Placemaking" initiative to commission 50 mural in 2 years along designated safe walking routes to local public schools. Although I conducted community outreach beyond the school, I considered the middle school children to be my main audience, which informed the design. Two of the three characters are children and the star and moon pattern in the lower level is playful, as is the adult ushering in the sunrise.
Erie Arts and Culture commissioned the mural, offered design feedback, and gave final approval on my design.
I painted the mural in-studio over a month.
Grace Rhodes acted as my assistant while painting on the poly-tab in studio for ten days.
Steve Mik helped with the polytab installation process over two days.
Artist Statement: Residents told me that their tight-knit neighborhood is full of hard-working people. The idea of putting daily effort into maintaining things as essential as family and community reminds me of a Greek myth. Helios drove the sun across the sky in a chariot every single day. If he hadn’t, there would have been no new day; he was that indispensable. Some of the women mentioned off hand that they, the women, work harder than anyone. I know from experience and plenty of studies that this tends to be the case everywhere, so here Helios is a middle-aged woman. I questioned how to showcase how needed and dedicated she is, without glorifying the idea of her or anyone being overworked. I needed to create a work-life balance for an essential goddess. Instead of traveling the whole way around the world, this Helios only needs to raise her arms, embracing a new day, to usher in the sunrise for her community. I imagine people all over the world taking turns raising their arms to make the sun rise in their neighborhoods at just the right moment, like when spectators do the wave in the bleachers at a game.