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Somerset County High School Students' Art on View at the PA Turnpike North Somerset Service Plaza


Somerset, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) unveiled newly installed student artwork at the North Somerset Service Plaza on the PA Turnpike. Students from Shanksville-Stonycreek High School created the two-piece mural, which features landmarks and activities around Somerset County. This is the fourteenth artwork created in conjunction with Art Sparks, a PCA and PTC partnership to bring student-created, locally relevant artwork to service plazas across the PTC's more than 550-mile system.

“Opportunities to engage in creative problem solving, complex design, and collaboration are just a few ways that art programs, like Art Sparks, help prepare Pennsylvania students for success in any number of career paths," said Karl Blischke, PCA Executive Director. “I'm excited that Turnpike travelers who stop here will get to enjoy this beautiful mural and have the chance to learn about some of the elements that make Somerset County a special place."

“It is always a joy to see the vision of young artists come to life at Turnpike service plaza across Pennsylvania," said Mark Compton, PTC CEO. “This project continues to prove that art brings people together and we know countless visitors to this service plaza will enjoy the fruits of their labor for many years to come."

Coordinated through the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, PCA's regional Arts in Education partner organization, students worked with rostered teaching artist, Deb Bunnell, and Shanksville-Stonycreek School District art teacher, Bille Jo Miller, to design and create the mural. The artwork is now permanently on view at the North Somerset Service Plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Art Sparks pairs K-12 art students and teaching artists from the PCA's Arts in Education roster with the goal of installing a local, student-created artwork in every service plaza, system-wide. Schools near each respective service plaza host 20-day teaching artist residencies led by a local PCA teaching artist. Working with the teaching artist and members of the community, students create artwork that reflects their region of Pennsylvania.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, please visit the website or follow PCA on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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