A non-profit worker, some artists, and a firefighter walk into a fire station. It is not the start of a bad joke, but rather the joyous culmination of a collaboration across organizations to benefit the community.
On November 3, individuals from United Way of Franklin County, the Greater Chambersburg Area Paid Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 1813, and The Foundry Art Market gathered to celebrate the installation of a community painting at the Chambersburg Fire Department on North 2nd Street. The painting was created by 36 local artists to celebrate and support the work of United Way of Franklin County. This artwork led to more than $1,400 in donations to serve our community through United Way.
“Earlier in the year, we received the wonderful surprise that The Foundry selected a photograph from one of our community events for their 2023 Community Painting,” said Amy Hicks, executive director of United Way of Franklin County. “Watching this project unfold, we waited in anticipation, as did the artists that participated, to see what image was selected and how the work would come together. The final mural beautifully depicts our vision of community.”
It all started this summer when The Foundry invited artists to sign up to paint one square that represented a portion of a larger image. None of the artists knew what the content of the full image was. They used the media of their choice to recreate their panel as a work of art.
Once the panels were created, they were brought together and assembled to form a large multi-media mosaic painting. The 36 panels represent diverse artistic expressions unique to each individual artist, but when viewed together, the work speaks with one voice celebrating the work of United Way.
The community painting depicts United Way’s 2022 Learn and Play Day, an annual event that introduces families to services available across the community. Present at the event, and the focus of the painting, was Captain Pat Martin from the Chambersburg Fire Department as he interacted with kids and families. Through the IAFF Local 1813, firefighters like Captain Martin are often out in the community to interact with neighbors and make a difference.
The Foundry artists decided to use the community painting to help raise awareness and funds to support United Way’s mission to improve quality of lives in Franklin County. United Way coordinates programs and partners with community organizations that help individuals and families achieve their potential through education, income stability, healthy living, and basic needs.
The Foundry, through their parent organization Downtown Chambersburg Inc., donated $400 to United Way as a result of their outreach; that did not go unnoticed by the Members of Greater Chambersburg Area Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 1813.
“As soon as I laid my eyes on the painting, I knew we had to have it and we had to support this cause,” said Scott McNew, President of the IAFF Local 1813. He coordinated with United Way and The Foundry to find a permanent home for the community painting at the Chambersburg Fire Department. Inspired by the painting the IAFF Local 1813 also made a generous donation of $1,000 to United Way.
On November 3, the permanent installation of the community painting was celebrated by McNew, Captain Martin, Hicks, Amy Weibley (who submitted the original photograph that was the subject of the mural) and 12 of the 36 artists. Residents who visit the fire department will be greeted by the mural near the entrance, representing the commitment of our local firefighters to engaging with and bettering the community.
“All of us at United Way of Franklin County are grateful for the community partnerships that led to this, and to the many people whose talents and passion for community made this possible,” said Hicks.
Thank you to the 36 artists who painted a panel and contributed to the multi-media mosaic painting: Sasha Arnett, Cindy Baker, Pam Bartl, Lynda Beckwith, Linda Best, Danielle Black, Kathy Carmack, Donna Crissman, Erin Coyle, Sam Dalious, Luke Davies, Sherree Devor, Andrea Finch, Korey Flick, Christina Freidhoff, Kat Giuliano, Mary Grassell, Jean Harshman, Dee Henry, Amy Hicks, Sharon Holoviak, Pat Keffer, Karen Lewns, Meagan Mohn, Michele Patti, Mary Peters, Amy Plessinger, Deborah Slocum, Connie Stenger, Aileen Stottlemyer, Donna Werling, Marcia Wible, Aretha Williams, Doretta Wisler, and Marti Yeager. Special thanks to Anne Finucane for coordinating the 2023 Community Painting.
Photos by Wright Style Media LLC.