ShareThis Page
TJ students create murals for Pleasant Hills Primanti Bros. |
South Hills

TJ students create murals for Pleasant Hills Primanti Bros.

| Friday, October 26, 2018 5:09 p.m
Thomas Jefferson High School seniors Gabrielle Lewis (right) and Kaitlyn Hoskowicz prepare the mural they created in Kirk Salopek’s drawing class at TJ to be hung at the Pleasant Hills Primanti Bros.

Four colorful murals — depicting the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates and TJ athletics — now adorn the large glass doors enclosing the outdoor patio at Pleasant Hills Primanti Bros. on Route 51.

The artwork, created by 11 students in Kirk Salopek’s drawing class at Thomas Jefferson High School, went on display Oct. 19. Students worked on the murals for about two weeks and hung them at the restaurant themselves.

“It was really fun,” said sophomore Sophia Natter, 15. “I’ve never done a mural before. It’s kind of stressful because you don’t want to mess up and have people not like it.”

The restaurant’s general manager, Jeanie Winkler, was looking for a new way for the restaurant to interact with the community.

“We’re a part of TJ. It’s literally right in our backyard,” she said. “I wanted to do something positive in the community.”

Looking at the closed windows on the outdoor patio, Jake Aul, a server and cook at the restaurant, had an idea to spruce up the “bare” space. The 2016 TJ graduate, who had Salopek for a ceramics class, recommended bringing in the teacher and his students to work on a project.

Salopek came down on a weekend to measure the doors, which created a couple of unique challenges for constructing a mural. The mural would need to be done around the metal framework and, because it’s done on windows, both sides needed to be taken into account.

Also, getting students out of school to draw four large-scale murals could have been a problem.

The solution? Have the students design and draw the murals on pieces of poster board while at school, then find a way to hang the panels on the windows.

The side facing out became a black and gold checkerboard, which is still visually appealing for those driving by on the busy highway.

“It was a unique challenge for the kids to come up with this type of mural,” said Salopek, who also serves as the art department coordinator at TJ. “They definitely rose to the challenge.”

For many students, the murals are the first time their artwork has ever been on public display.

“I love this project. It’s my favorite project we’ve ever done,” said senior Kaitlyn Hoskowicz, 17.

“It’s something different. It’s something no one else has ever done before,” added senior Gabrielle Lewis, 17.

The students got to design the murals themselves and work in groups.

“It was nice to have the help. I don’t think any one of us could have done this on our own,” said senior Grace Williams, 17.

It was important for the TJ athletics mural to showcase every sport offered at the school — not just football, the students said.

“Everyone has their own sport that they’re involved in, and we wanted to recognize everyone,” said senior Alexa Plasynski, 17.

Getting to have their artwork on display for all to see is exciting for the students.

“Most of my artwork, I just keep to myself,” Sophia said. “No one other than my parents has ever seen it. Now everyone that goes to Primanti’s will.”

Many of the students said they plan to bring their friends and family to Primanti Bros. to show off their work.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.