Through a $100,000 grant from the First Community Partnership Foundation of Pennsylvania, students throughout the county will become part of the celebration of Little League's 75th anniversary as they work with a world-renowned 3-D pop artist to create a mural.
Fifth-grade students from both Lycoming and Sullivan counties will have the opportunity to work with Charles Fazzino in the creation of an 8-foot mural honoring the youth baseball organization, with the help of funding through the foundation's Beyond the Budget grant.
"It's to commemorate Little League's 75th (anniversary) but the most important thing is it will inspire young people," said Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, chairwoman of the Little League International board and a foundation board member.
Patrick Wilson, vice president of operations and program development, called the project a "tremendous opportunity" for both the organization and community.
"We as an organization never have enough opportunities to say thank you and collaborate with our community," he said.
Fazzino will be in Williamsport for three days at the end of February, working not only with fifth graders but high school students and teachers.
He will be holding a professional development meeting with elementary art teachers on how to create a 3-D pop art piece that will stay with the school. Selected high school students also will be given the opportunity to take an after-school master class.
Art work from all students will be displayed in The Gallery at Penn College.
"It's a fully-enriching experience," Gilmour said. "It's a hands-on experience from the master."
On Fazzino's final day, he and 35 fifth-grade students from schools throughout the two counties will spend the day at Little League headquarters to work on the mural. The mural will be unveiled in August during the Little League World Series. It will be displayed in the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum.
Wilson added that although art education isn't the first thought when it comes to Little League, it makes sense because both involve teamwork and being a well-rounded individual.
"Little League is not just about what happens on the field," he said.
In the end, everyone wins. Gilmour said not only is art being created but students are getting an educational activity they wouldn't without the foundation's contribution.
"It's lets them do something that they otherwise would not be able to," she said.