Indiana Area Senior High School

By KILEY BRANAN – Thanks to Spruce Art Residency and Dripped on The Road, Indiana, PA has a new sight downtown. The murals that were recently painted in downtown Indiana are a wonderful pop of color and relate back to the town as well as bring sustainability aspects.

A local arts center known as Spruce Art Residency partnered with Dripped on The Road to bring artists from around the world to paint these beautiful murals right here in Indiana, PA. Artists Risa Boogie, Sarah C. Rutherford, Damien Mitchell, and Even Lovett painted a variety of paintings including a coal miner, Jimmy Stewart, Christmas trees, a bear on fire, and many more. The artists held a mural tour the Saturday before they left and many people from town came out to see the work that they did.

“I think they add some color and beauty to the community, and they highlight some important places around town. They just make downtown Indiana a little bit more fun,” mentioned Junior Elizabeth Ashe. The artists worked with what they learned about the town and put that into their art while creating these meaningful pieces. The coal miner represents the history of coal mining in the area around Indiana, the Christmas tree mural represents Indiana being the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, and the Jimmy Stewart mural is a tribute to the famous actor from our town.

The artists not only made these beautiful paintings but did so using products that support sustainably. Some of the paintings were made with a type of paint called Smog Armor. This paint actively purifies the air meaning it sucks CO2 emissions out of the air. Along with the sustainable paint, the artists in residency also held an upcycling and graffiti workshop for the community and planted trees at Ben Franklin Elementary School and other spots in town. 

The murals benefit the community in numerous ways. Murals bring visual arts into the public, and because they inhabit public spaces, they are accessible to everyone. Murals often visually communicate issues in ways that truly stick with viewers. Senior Debbyrah Flint shared, “My favorite mural has got to be the burning bear. It’s a very artistic way of showing a very serious subject and gives me chills looking at it.”

Along with benefiting the community, these murals also benefit students at the local schools. IHS art teacher Mrs. Beth Porter mentioned, “Normally the students in my classes wouldn’t be able to witness the creation of one urban mural from beginning to end, let alone as many as the artists ended up painting. Having this event happen in Indiana also allowed art students to create a dialogue with the artists. When the artists began the murals I assigned a voluntary challenge to all of my art classes to get a selfie with a mural, and/or the artist of the mural. Many students completed the challenge and a few were able to speak to the artists as they worked.”

This was a good way to get students involved in what is going on in the community and encourages them to have fun with it.

These murals bring great inspiration to the community along with fun and meaningful murals that all tell a story, some of which relate back to Indiana itself. Porter also added, “I would advise anyone and everyone to go see at least a few of these masterpieces. There’s just something about viewing them that boosts a person’s overall sense of wonder and positivity.” These murals have a great impact on the town by encouraging curiosity and creativity as well as bringing in sustainability.

[Photo by Trista Newman]

Photo Credit: “IHS art student Trista Newman (left) and mural artist Risa Boogie (right) in front of Risa’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life/One Love’ mural.”


Kiley Branan

Reporter, Business Manager

Kiley is a sophomore and second-year reporter for the High Arrow. She enjoys art and plays on the lacrosse team. She is excited to continue writing articles for the students and staff, and parents of IHS.