High Schoolers’ Mosaic Unveiled At Pa. Turnpike Service Station

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OAKMONT (KDKA) — A unique piece of art is now on display along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

On Thursday, “A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood” was unveiled at the service plaza in Oakmont. The mosaic was created by local students from Riverview Junior and Senior High School.

“This opportunity turned into something more than we ever dreamed of,” says Dr. Margaret DiNinno, the superintendent of the Riverview School District.

“A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood” is the second of 17 murals that are being installed at the Turnpike’s rest stops. Officials wanted local students to design them, so that each one is unique to the region.

turnpike mosaic 1 High Schoolers Mosaic Unveiled At Pa. Turnpike Service Station

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

“[It’s amazing] to work with everybody in our school, and really, what we can create when we put our mind to it,” says Sydney Ruyes, a senior who worked on the project.

Many of the students who worked on this project are also enrolled in an AP art class. They were thrilled to work on the project with a professional artist. Laura Jean McLaughlin has worked on many mosaics for places like the Pittsburgh Zoo and Whole Foods. She helped the students by coming up with the final image, based on their drawings.

“So they really worked hard to come up with so many different ideas reflecting what Pittsburgh meant to them,” says McLaughlin. “You know, when visitors came to Pittsburgh, what they might experience.”

The mosaic features some iconic Southwestern Pennsylvania figures, including Mary Cassatt, Andy Warhol, Gene Kelly, and of course, Mr. Rogers.

The next two turnpike service plazas to get murals will be the one in Somerset, and the one in King of Prussia in Eastern Pennsylvania. They’re scheduled to have the mosaics installed in the spring of 2018.

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