We Are Youngstown

By Amanda Lehnerd

Youngstown State University student David Tamulonis teamed up with YSUscape to create a mural titled ‘We Are Youngstown’ which is displayed on the side of the Harshman Building in downtown Youngstown.

Tamulonis, YSUscape member and NYO Property Group employee, came up with the idea for the mural as his Bachelor of Fine Arts capstone project in graphic design. bw

“The ‘We Are Youngstown’ mural is my BFA capstone project, so I designed it, planned it and organized it,” Tamulonis said. “YSUscape helped with the implementation of the plan, the process and acquiring volunteers.”

Tamulonis chose the Harshman Building for the mural, because it is owned by NYO Property Group.

“I work at NYO Property Group, and I purposed the project to my boss, who was open to the idea and very supportive,” Tamulonis said. “My boss allowed us to use the side of the building to paint the mural.”

The Harshman Building is located next to The SOAP Gallery, and the mural overlooks the large parking lot located in between the two buildings.

Nicholas Chretien, president of YSUscape, said that the parking lot has already been used as an event space since the unofficial reveal of the mural.

“We hope that the mural improves the overall liveliness and vibrancy of downtown through this art installation,” Chretien said. “The mural allows for the parking lot to feel more welcoming and was programmed as an event space last week. This may encourage more events to take place in the lot.”

According to Tamulonis, the mural is a representation of present day Youngstown. It focuses on the things that are happening right now, like the period of growth and excitement that we are experiencing. The shadow represents something temporary and is fixed to the building permanently to memorialize the present.

The shadows pictured in the mural are volunteer residents of Youngstown who wanted to participate in the creation of ‘We Are Youngstown.’

“There were two days where volunteers, and residents could come out and get their photos taken for the mural,” Tamulonis said. “Once the photos were taken, I put them into Photoshop, traced the outline and filled them in with black, then projected them onto the building with a movie projector.”

The whole creative process for the mural took four months to complete. The painting of the mural took two weeks.

“There were many hoops to jump through with the City of Youngstown that made the process longer. We had to get permission from the Design Review Committee, along with waiting for supplies,” Tamulonis said. “Once we started the painting of the mural, it took two weeks to finish.”

Daniel Rauschenbach, co-owner of The SOAP Gallery, is happy about the resurgence of the creative community in Youngstown.

“Having more public artwork and murals in Youngstown are symbols of the resurgence of the creative community,” Rauschenbach said. “Hopefully, in the future, more physical public art such as sculptures and installations will happen. We are thrilled to have a mural by David Tamulonis and YSUscape next to The Soap Gallery.”

The mural will have a plaque placed on the building that will say the names of the volunteer residents who participated. There has not been an official grand opening ceremony planned. Patrons are welcome to view the mural.