News Release

    March 30, 2017


New arts program will connect student artists to PA Turnpike
New partnership, Art Sparks, will develop public art created by local students


HUMMELSTOWN, PA. (March 30, 2017) — Today, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and Pennsylvania Council for the Arts (PCA) announced a new partnership that connects student artists with art being developed for stops along the PA Turnpike. The new program, called Art Sparks, will utilize the PCA’s Arts in Education residency program to develop student-created, original pieces of art for Turnpike service plazas across the 550-mile system. These public art pieces will be on display in service plazas across Pennsylvania over a five-year cycle.

The Turnpike’s Lawn Service Plaza is where Art Sparks will make its debut. The pilot residency project is being conducted with art students at Lower Dauphin High School in partnership with HMS Host at the Lawn Service Plaza. The PCA’s regional Arts in Education partner, Jump Street, is coordinating the residency program, which began in late February and will end by mid-April. Students in the High School Art 2 Class are working with a teaching artist, Megan Davis, to create a mural that will reflect the Harrisburg/Hershey region.

Mark Compton, PA Turnpike CEO, joined the art class today to see how the project is going and to join in the artistic process. “I see how art can spark a mind and transform a place,” Compton said. “I also understand the great value in the creative process, and am very anxious to see this mural move into its new home along the Turnpike to spark interest and excitement among our travelers.”

Phillip Horn, Executive Director of the PCA, was also onsite to help with the progress. “Art Sparks is an excellent example of a teaching artist residency that engages students as well as the community,” said Horn. “It will also put young artists on the road to success.”

The PTC will determine the order of the service plazas to host Arts in Education residencies. A school that resides in the municipality of a chosen service plaza will be selected to host a 20-day teaching artist residency led by a local PCA teaching artist. The students will work with the artist and members of that community to create a piece of art that reflects the region. The work will then be installed at the respective service plaza with a community unveiling event to help engage stakeholders and community members in the project.

The Lawn Service Plaza mural is slated to be installed and unveiled in mid-May. For more information on Art Sparks visit For more information on the PCA Arts in Education program visit


CONTACT: Carl Defebo
PA Turnpike Commission
Phone: 717.645.2265
Norah Johnson
PA Council of the Arts
Phone: 717.525.5549