ERIE, PA (June 27, 2016) – Artist Ehren Knapp has installed a new public mural at 337 West 12th Street on the east side of the former Skinner Engine building, which is now owned and operated as a commercial warehouse facility by Logistics Plus Inc. The mural entitled “Erie Industry” represents a sampling of Erie’s manufacturing legacy along 12th Street.
The mural, a project of The Big Picture, covers approximately 25’ x 44.75’ on the east wall of the warehouse and 192 sq. ft. of surface area on retaining blocks. Knapp spent the winter months working in his studio painting on a polytab material.
The Big Picture project recently held a free paint day for the Erie Industry mural at the Erie Art Museum. Community members of all ages were invited to paint on the polytab that was eventually installed on the cement blocks in front of the Skinner Engine building. Ehren Knapp led the workshop and provided the design, paints and instructions for the activity. The Downtown YMCA Teen Center has also been involved with the project; photographing existing murals, participating in the paint day and painting the cement block murals.
“The skyline in the mural represents facades of a few distinct buildings along 12th Street and the foreground depicts the Skinner plant as its façade may have looked in the 40s, the central structure is the skywalk west of Cherry street, and in the central left background is the ramped roof line of Erie Press,” said Knapp in his response to The Big Picture’s request for proposals. “Starting at the left middle ground, Erie manufacturing is represented by a green hydraulic press from Erie Press, a locomotive represents GE, and foundry and casting images depict Urick Ductile Solutions. The central figure symbolizes the labor force. The Skinner Engine Company is represented with the Unaflow Steam Engine in the right of the composition. The sun in the center background will be subtlety symbolic of Griswold Cast Iron.”
“Logistics Plus has always tried to ‘spruce up’ Erie–our home for the past 20 years,” said Jim Berlin, Founder & CEO, Logistics Plus. “We purchased and cleaned up historic Union Station in 2003 and placed 50 flags at the top of the building. At the time, we had about 35 employees in the station; now we have nearly 100, and have added many tenants. We painted the bridges over Peach and Sassafras Street and brightened up the gateways to and from downtown. We put a mural on the old Dana Brake building after buying that, and in 2014 we purchased the old Skinner Engine building, turned it into a warehouse, and now, along with The Big Picture, we’re commemorating its proud history with another beautiful mural. We’re also supporters of the Erie Lightway Project being led by Erie Council Member, David Brennan. All of these projects have a common purpose – to improve Erie’s image, encourage development and create a stronger sense of pride in the local community.”
The Big Picture is a collaborative effort between the Erie Art Museum, Erie Arts & Culture, and the YMCA with support from Tungsten Creative Group. The goal is to provide resources and support to artists and property owners interested in the creation of murals. It’s an idea that was first considered in 2012 when Erie was chosen as the host city for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
The Big Picture leverages the power of visual storytelling to inspire and beautify neighborhoods by placing large-scale murals in public places. “Noticeably, there is an organic effort in many of our neighborhoods to use murals to beautify, brand a space, inspire community conversation and build pride,” says John Vanco, director of the Erie Art Museum. “The Big Picture provides the organizational framework to leverage human capital, financial resources and expand impact.”
The Governor’s Awards for the Arts organizers have designated $35,000 for The Big Picture. The seed money will fund project management, training and technical assistance for artists and property owners and support the creation of up to six new murals.
Logistics Plus Inc. is a leading worldwide provider of transportation, logistics and supply chain solutions. Based in Erie, PA, with offices all around the world, the Company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The Big Picture Media Contact:
Vice President, Financial Development, Membership & Marketing
YMCA of Greater Erie
Logistics Plus Inc. Media Contact:
Scott G. Frederick
Vice President, Marketing
Logistics Plus Inc.