Painting a More Beautiful Shamokin

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SHAMOKIN -- A city in Northumberland County is about to get a face-lift. A group of people in Shamokin plans to paint a mural on a building at a busy intersection.

When you drive through Shamokin, it is hard to miss the blighted properties. Matt Leavens recently drove through nearby Danville, and saw a mural. That gave him the idea to do something similar in Shamokin.

"My idea was to take the art aspect and put a mural downtown," said Leavens.

Leavens is involved with a group called Northumberland County Council for the Arts. The group has a summer art program that will culminate with the painting of a 20-foot by 20-foot mural.

Leavens said the mural is going to go on the side of the Bressi and Martin building on Eighth Street. The owner of the building said it's the perfect location in Shamokin.

"It will get a lot of exposure being on our building. We're excited about it and hopefully a lot of other businesses get involved," said Maria Bressi.

Leavens has finalized a sketch of the mural.

"I wanted to show what made Shamokin, Shamokin back in the day when it once had 50,000 people." said Leavens.

Leavens drew a coal miner in the middle of the mural.

"The biggest coal bank in the world. Trains, because there was a railroad station," said Leavens.

The mural will also feature other past and present Shamokin landmarks, including the old F&S Brewery, and Coney Island Lunch.

"I want to liven it up so people say Shamokin is a great place, look at the art," said Leavens.

Some people who live and work in Shamokin agree.

"I think it's great to pay tribute to our town. Not a lot is going on here so it will be great to show support for our town," said Nicole Koss.

A team of six artists is scheduled to start painting the mural in Shamokin in early August, and have it finished by the end of the month.