March 07, 2019 News Release

Hempfield Area High School Students’ Artwork Unveiled at the New Stanton Turnpike Service Plaza

Hempfield Area High School Students’ Artwork Unveiled at the New Stanton Turnpike Service Plaza

New Stanton, PA — The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) Executive Director Karl Blischke and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) CEO Mark Compton unveiled artwork today at the New Stanton Turnpike Service Plaza. Hempfield Area High School students designed and created the art. The project is part of Art Sparks, a PCA and PTC partnership to bring student-created artwork to service plazas across the PTC’s 550-mile system.

“A key part of our vision at the PTC is to be a valued business partner,” commented PTC CEO Mark Compton, who shared remarks at the event. “We believe this also constitutes being a good neighbor. This program has allowed us not just to be a good neighbor but to also showcase our neighbors and their talents and creativity. Now thousands of customers can enjoy and admire this local display while visiting our New Stanton Service Plaza.” 

Titled PA COMMONwealth THREADS, the artwork is composed of six colorful pieces of silk, each depicting imagery emblematic of the region, including the Palace Theater, St. Clair Park, Western PA landscape paintings, Arnold Palmer, local landmarks, and a white-tailed deer. All six pieces are now permanently installed inside the service plaza.

Coordinated through the PCA’s regional Arts in Education partner, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Hempfield Area High School art students worked with teaching artist, Susan Novak, and art teacher, Emily Daignault, to design and create the pieces. Students used a variety of silk painting techniques and traditional Shibori dyeing to execute their designs.

This is the sixth project created through Art Sparks. The unveiling event drew individuals from the community to help celebrate, including students, families and local and state officials.

“Art Sparks offers students the rare opportunity to produce permanent artwork for public display,” said Karl Blischke, PCA executive director. “Not only have you cultivated your skills as artists, but you have created distinctive and beautiful artwork that highlights Western Pennsylvania for Turnpike travelers to enjoy as they pause on their journey.”

Art Sparks pairs K-12 art students and teaching artists from the PCA’s Arts in Education resident artist 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 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.

Norah Johnson, PA Council on the Arts, 717-585-4713
Renee Colborn, PA Turnpike, 725-755-5260