May 10, 2018 News Release

PA Turnpike Commission and PA Council on the Arts Unveil Student Artwork

Unveil Student Artwork at Somerset Turnpike Service Plaza

Somerset, PA — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) were joined by students, families and local and state officials today at the South Somerset Service Plaza to unveil artwork designed and created by Somerset Area High School students.

This is the third art piece created through Art Sparks, a partnership between the PCA’s Arts in education residency program and the PTC. Art Sparks brings student-created artwork to service plazas across the PTC’s 550-mile system.

“Programs like Art Sparks give students the opportunity to contribute to a project that advances their education, builds their talents as artists and innovators and develops key skills that contribute to success in school and the workplace,” said Karl Blischke, PCA executive director. “Each and every one of these students should feel immense pride for what they have created.”

Coordinated through the PCA’s regional Arts in Education partner, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA), students worked with teaching artist, Martha Murphy, and art teacher, Kayla Borosky, to design and create the artwork. The finished mixed media piece, titled “Creative Colors of the Laurel Highlands,” depicts the Laurel Highlands region through the changing seasons.

“It’s amazing how art brings people together,” said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “This project proves how young people can use their imaginations, work together and create something beautiful that motivates others. This piece, which now has a home at South Somerset Service Plaza, shows the world what this region has to offer.” 

Art Sparks pairs K-12 art students and teaching artists from the PCA’s Arts in Education roster with the goal to install a local, student-created artwork in every service plaza, system-wide, over the next five to eight years.

Schools near each respective service plaza host 20-day teaching artist residencies led by a local PCA teaching artist. Students work with the artist and members of the community to create artwork that reflects the region. The next Art Sparks artwork will be unveiled at the King of Prussia service plaza on June 21, 2018.

For more information on Art Sparks, visit or

Media Contacts:
Norah Johnson, PA Council on the Arts, 717-585-4713
or Kathleen Walter, PA Turnpike, 610-313-6383.