The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network’s (SSJNN) mission is to revitalize the neighborhoods it serves and to empower the people who live there. The SSJNN also works to bring beauty to the neighborhoods through parks, landscaping, and art.
Through the years, the SSJNN has funded the creation of 16 murals. Recently, the addition of a 17th mural, the first in the SSJNN’s east Erie neighborhoods, took place.
This new mural needed to be special, and provide a high-impact foundation for additional improvements in the area. A committee of neighborhood residents brainstormed ideas and themes. Gaven Hedderick of Rog’s Inc. offered space for the mural on his building at 18th and Parade Streets. Erie Arts & Culture director, Patrick Fisher, suggested bringing an international artist to Erie for the project and with the help of Iryna Kanishcheva of GNV Urban Art LLC from Gainesville, FL, Manolo Mesa of Spain was selected.
Manolo chose the theme neighbors from the committee’s list of ideas, and he created a mural based on a photograph of actual neighbors in the area. Manolo was welcomed enthusiastically by the neighbors who brought him refreshments as he worked, posted progress updates on Facebook and Instagram, and brought friends and family to see the art. The City of Erie administration featured him during the Mayor’s weekly press conference and gave him a key to the city. Everyone enjoyed Manolo’s peaceful and joyful presence and celebrated the entire experience as a “new birth” of art in the neighborhood.