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Public art project expands in downtown Greensburg

| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 10:52 a.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Sam Davis, an employee of Sign-A-Rama, installs artwork on the windows of 29 Main St. in downtown Greensburg on Oct. 30, 2013. The artwork is part of the second phase of the public art project, 'Seeing Greensburg Through a Different Lens,' a partnership between the Greensburg Community Development Corp. and Seton Hill University graphic design students.

A two-year-old public art project intended to liven up empty storefronts in downtown Greensburg has expanded.

On Wednesday, Steven Gifford, executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp., “unveiled” three additions — “Seeing Greensburg Through a Different Lens.”

Graphic design students at Seton Hill University and the development group joined in the effort to add vibrancy to the downtown area, promote its cultural, shopping and dining options and encourage further investment.

The newest buildings to be freshened up are at 29, 37 and 39 N. Main St., along the daily traffic route of 11,000 vehicles, Gifford said.

Motorists heading to the Westmoreland County Courthouse or the Palace Theatre will travel past the brightly colored windows, he noted.

“Because of the amount of phone calls we have received, and the public saying they really appreciate the artwork, we decided to expand,” Gifford said.

A fourth site is being sought, he said, after one landlord whose building is ready for occupancy as a restaurant decided to keep his window front clear.

Seven students in Sister Mary Kay Neff's graphic design class worked on the service project.

Chris DeMichiei of Gibsonia, Maggie Ozzello and Brittany Allen, both of Jeannette, Jess Adams of Irwin and David “D.J.” Beckage of Murrysville, all seniors, and Molly Follmer of Ford City and MaRissa Boros of White Oak, both May 2013 graduates, collaborated on the designs.

They feature a honeycomb pattern, the colors orange, blue, green and yellow and the words “Lively,” “Energetic,” “Dynamic” and “Invigorating.”

“We brainstormed words relating to Greensburg. This is one of the largest projects I've ever done. I love seeing the artwork on the windows when driving up or down Main Street,” Ozzello said.

City business Sign-A-Rama workers transferred the students' designs onto vinyl, and completed installation on Wednesday.

“A lot of our customers have seen them. They like them, they think they are fun,” owner Robert Gonze said.

Quick Response codes on the designs include information such as square footage, neighborhood characteristics and cost to lease or buy the properties.

In November 2011, five vacant properties in the shopping district on South Pennsylvania and Main and West Second streets were the first to be highlighted with Seton Hill students' “window dressing.”

The properties remain available and have attracted traffic from interested investors, Gifford said.

Project sponsors include Trib Total Media, S&T Bank and Peoples Natural Gas, with support from property owners.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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