WHY THIS IS A MUST-READ:
Palmyra Township Public Beach is the only public beach on Lake Wallenpaupack.See how these local artists expressed themselves, volunteering to make something beautiful for all to enjoy. Be inspired to consider your own gifts and how they can be put to use to serve the community.
PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - The summer has ended, but not before three artists shared their talents with the community via a mural unlike any other in the Lake Region.
Melissa DeChellis, the proprietor and lead artist at The Craft Room in Greentown worked with her friends and fellow artists Lori Ryan who is a photographer and Gwen Miller who is a physician assistant that plans on switching fields to use art for therapy, brought a storage building at Palmyra Beach alive with color and creativity a few weeks ago.
Together, the friends painted a mural which Tanya Cunningham, who is a member of the parks and recreation committee called “Lake Wallenpaupack under the fireworks.”
The initial building, DeChellis described as “drab.” Now however, there is a summer scene many in the Lake Region are familiar with, as every Fourth of July colorful fireworks fill the sky above Lake Wallenpaupack, making the water glisten.
Ahead of Wally Lake Fest
With a deadline of Wally Lake Fest, the artists started August 19 and had to be finished by the 26. The deadline, DeChellis said was stressful as the friends who she said were more like the cast from The Golden Girls, hit weather hurdles and the stucco on the building “sabotaged” their work since it affected the lines for their lettering for “Lake Wallenpaupack” and “Palmyra Township.” Despite those issues, overall the work was simply “fun” she said.
This project was not the first time the artists had ever created a mural, but this was the largest for DeChellis who is known for face painting at community events. For over a year, DeChellis and Ryan discussed painting the concession stand, but they were surprised when the Palmyra Township Board of Supervisors also approved them to paint the storage building.
While pleased with the finished image, the continued humidity made for a challenge since the condensation laid on the building, sometimes forcing the artists to stop for the day. All total, the weather affected three days of their work.
This wasn’t Miller’s first mural, since she had painted one on a wall in her daughter’s room.
While working one day, Ryan whose husband Dan is on the recreation committee said the project was “fantastic” and “a lot of fun” because the women were working together and as they progressed, there was a “great sense of accomplishment” as people gave positive feedback about their work. Having such a large canvas, was simply “fantastic.” Working on the letters, while she enjoyed doing them, the letters were “more tedious” she said.
More to come
Next, the women will be painting a woodlands scene on the concession stand that will include a family of bears, and an “under the water” scene near the bathroom area of the building to appear as if in an aquarium.
Once the storage building was complete and they were able to meet their deadline, each of the artist said they were relieved to be done and very pleased with the outcome. With one building behind them, they were excited to start the concession stand since it would allow the women to have more of an “artistic license” Ryan said.
In their initial sketch for the storage building, purple was going to be added for the buckhorns as well as a soaring eagle. But as they progressed, DeChellis said their plans changed and now such original ideas may be found on the concession stand. The women volunteered their talents for this and the next project.
Cunningham said the finished mural was “better” than she imagined because of the colors and the reflection of the fireworks on the water which she loved.
In the end, both DeChellis and Ryan said the mural was what they envisioned. Miller said she was pleased with the outcome and the coloring turned out great. But, she was ready to get started on the next building because their first piece of art was “fun.”