Leaving a legacy

Although he will be leaving the area to attend the University of Pittsburgh in the fall, a recent Montoursville Area High School graduate is leaving a part of himself at home as he finished a large mural on a Broad Street building.

Nick Ripley, who graduated in June, has been working with Chloe Gillum, who also graduated in June from Montoursville, for about a year to get the mural finished on Smith’s Jewelry, located at 342 Broad St.

“It was interesting because nothing like this has been done in this town but the community’s been very supportive,” Ripley said of the project.

The mural was Ripley’s brain child for his senior project, but when he needed help, he recruited Gillum to join him. After working on getting the project approved by both the school district and building owner in the fall of 2012, the two began painting in late February.

As Ripley explained, they had to work around the weather.

“We started painting in the snow. It was fun to work with the Pennsylvania weather,” he said.

The idea to paint a large mural came from a trip Ripley took. He’s been wanting to do one ever since.

“I must have been on a road trip and saw one,” Ripley remembered. “And I didn’t let go of the idea.”

Art has been a part of Ripley’s life since he was a little kid. He said he enjoys expressing himself and has done so with his most recent creation on the side of a brick building.

“I love expressing myself and especially important ideas,” he said. “With this one, I kind of wanted to express ambition and determination.”

The mural shows a mountain scene, with a climber in one corner and hot air balloons floating over top of them.

Planning the large mural wasn’t easy though, as Ripley needed to create it in pieces.

“You have to look at it in little chunks. It’s a little intimidating,” he said.

As Ripley described the area as “focused on athletics,” he hopes that the mural will help others discover and explore art. He even dedicated the mural with the inscription “For young artists” on the lower corner of it.

“I hope more kids will see it and broaden their horizons creatively,” he said.

As they’re working, Ripley said people will stop and inquire to what they’re creating. He added that it makes him feel good when parents bring their children down to watch.

And as he prepares to leave the area to continue his education, Ripley takes pleasure in the fact that his artwork will remain in his hometown for a long time.

“I love that it will out live me,” Ripley said. “And I love that I was able to add something to the town.”