Help paint the new Roberto Clemente mural
Mural artist Kyle Holbrook has done more than 200 public art projects around Pittsburgh, including a collaborative 2005 Martin Luther King mural at Wood Street and Franklin Avenue and “We Fall Down But We Get Back Up” on Paulson Street, painted in 2008 and featuring faces of community activists.
The Wilkinsburg native recently did a mural in the Ostiense district in Rome, Italy. He’s worked on art projects around the world, he says.
Now he’s involved in another project that will fulfill a longtime goal: a larger-than-life depiction of Pirates great Roberto Clemente on the side of the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville.
The public will be able to help with the mural June 21-23 as part of a block party weekend at the museum, at Engine House 25, a restored 1800s firehouse at 3339 Penn Ave.
“The Clemente Mural is something I have wanted to do for a while. My late father William Holbrook, a teacher, admired Clemente’s compassion and commitment to the community and his philanthropy,” Holbrook says. “(G)rowing up, he always raved about how much class and dignity (Clemente) carried himself with, which was empowering for all people of color.
“My dad’s great friend and my uncle Earl Francis played on the team with Clemente, he was a pitcher for the Pirates,” he says. “He passed away a couple years after my father, and I know they are both in heaven proud that I am now creating the Clemente mural at the museum.”
The block party date was chosen because Clemente’s number, 21, coincides this year with the first day of summer on June 21, says Christine Brondyke, the museum’s director of events and engagement.
Holbrook began work on the mural during the weekend of June 15-16, Brondyke says. From 10 a.m.-noon June 21, young people from Pittsburgh schools and summer camps will join in the painting process.
After that, members of the public can pick up brushes as painting continues from 3-8 p.m. The afternoon and evening also will feature food trucks, a Latin jazz group led by Pittsburgh jazz mainstay George Jones, beer from Allegheny Brewing Co. and wines from Engine House 25 Wines, which shares the building with the museum.
On June 22, the museum will be open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with a $10 entry fee. Visitors will be able to browse the collection of sports and personal memorabilia at their leisure.
Public mural painting will continue from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 23. For visitors interested in brunch, Lola’s Eatery will offer bakery items. Coffee from Espresso a Mano and mimosas from Engine House 25 Wines also will be available.
In addition to the depiction of the legendary outfielder, the mural will contain one of Clemente’s “most famous” quotes, which is not being revealed beforehand, Brondyke says. There also will be a life-size painting of Clemente that visitors will be able to use for taking selfies and photos to share to social media.
“(F)or me after traveling the world and creating murals in 43 countries, it is a humbling experience to be able to come home and paint a huge landmark mural in Lawrenceville, a community that has become Pittsburgh’s art district,” Holbrook says.
He adds that the project was made possible with assistance from Duane Reider, founder of Engine House 25 Wines, and a grant from Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh, a partnership of the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments.
Details: 412-621-1268 or clementemuseum.com
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .