Arnold hires muralist to brighten up city
Tim Engelhardt spray-painted a wall across the street from Arnold’s city hall Monday morning without any concern of being hassled by authorities.
In fact, the city is paying to Engelhardt to do it.
“I think it might be my biggest mural I’ve ever done,” Engelhardt said as he worked on the 3,000-square-foot design along Drey Street.
Arnold’s Redevelopment Authority hired Engelhardt to brighten up a roughly 450-foot wall there. He’s done several murals in the Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley areas, including one at Kafa Buna Coffee and Tea in New Kensington.
He said the Redevelopment Authority approached him after seeing one of his other pieces — a fish and circuit board design — on the side of a Chinese restaurant about a block away from where he’s painting now.
Redevelopment Authority board member Jill Harris said the authority had been looking for ways to beautify the city and suggested that it hire Engelhardt to paint the wall for $3,000.
“We (had) money in our account and we were all impressed with what he did on the Chinese restaurant’s wall, so I contacted him,” she said.
Engelhardt decided on a tropical bird and wire design for the wall, playing on a ‘Bird on a Wire’ theme. Numerous birds, including tropical ones and a cardinal, are splayed across the mural that also features green leaves, a bird’s nest filled with baby birds and bundles of wires. The majority of the mural has been done with spray paint.
He said he wanted to design a bright, colorful mural that would make people slow down for a closer look. They’re doing that already. One woman stopped as she drove past Monday to tell Engelhardt that she loved the work in progress.
Engelhardt, who owns the Pittsburgh-based Engelhardt Designs, started work on the mural a few weeks ago and hopes to finish it this week. He said he has been humbled by the number of people who have thanked him for what he is doing.
Harris said the authority gave Engelhardt complete artistic freedom.
“We just gave him freedom to paint, let him go,” she said. “He made a beautiful mural of the birds. It’s beautiful. Something to brighten up the city. It’s great. It looks terrific.”
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, [email protected], or on Twitter @maddyczebstrib.