‘A Lasting Legacy’

International pop artist, WAHS art students produce public mural

Much like the lives of those it includes, Williamsport Area High School art students have left a legacy with a new public mural.

Working under the guidance of visiting Australian pop artist Johnny Romeo, the student artists worked to complete a large-scale public mural in just under one week.

The 50-foot mural, which recently was unveiled, can be found along the south entrance of the building on the backside of the auditorium.

Described by Romeo as an “ode to learning and intellectual curiosity,” the mural depicts the faces of “some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders” in the artist’s neo-expressionist pop style. It features those such as Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Muhammed Ali and Princess Diana.

While designed by Romeo, all aspects of the mural’s execution and installation were done in cooperation with art students from Andrea McDonough Varner’s visual arts classes.

“I am so excited to have embarked on this ambitious mural project,” Romeo said. “Throughout my past visits to Pennsylvania, and Williamsport in particular, I’ve been amazed at how passionate the students I’ve met from WAHS have been about the visual arts. I’m a big believer in the importance of supporting the next generation of artists, and I’ve been thrilled to have worked with the students, the teachers … in bringing the mural design to life.”

Over the course of a week, students participated in Romeo’s workshops, giving them a unique opportunity to develop their skills and gain insight into his practice of the craft. Painting the mural allowed students to apply their new or improved skills in a hands-on, real-world opportunity while creating a lasting legacy.

“Johnny Romeo has a passion for bringing community together and giving artists a platform,” McDonough Varner said. “Johnny’s passion is incredibly contagious and the WAHS students were inspired by his commitment and his vision. The team of students who produced the work were not only passionate about their involvement but remained steadfast and committed throughout the seven days of mental, physical and artistic challenges. We are thankful to be supported by a community that embraces the arts and values opportunities for our students that break through the traditional classroom experience.”

“Their commitment, hard work and attention to detail was outstanding,” Romeo said. “They did an incredible job and I really couldn’t have painted it better myself. I hope the dynamic mural project leaves a lasting legacy at WAHS, acting as a clarion call to students to dream big and believe in the impossible for years to come.”

The project was funded by the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania through Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) donations received for WASD from First National Bank of Pennsylvania, Citizens and Northern Bank, Jersey Shore State Bank, Nubro Inc., and Woodlands Bank. For more on how the EITC program works at WASD, visit .

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