Muralist Plans to Add JayPa, Harris, and Knight
Michael Pilato has been busy lately. Pilato is a local artist and creator of the mural on Heister Street that features hundreds of caricatures from Penn State’s long history. The mural that he calls “Inspiration” has seen a couple modifications since November, and may be seeing a few more in the coming months.
On November 9th, Pilato removed Jerry Sandusky from his mural and painted a simple blue ribbon in his place in response to the sexual abuse allegations. One of the primary factors that went into that decision was the relationship with his daughter, now 16, who was sexually abused when she was 12.
“The victims in the community, if the alleged crimes are true, shouldn’t have to look at [Jerry Sandusky] up there,” Pilato said.
Last week, the mural was slightly modified again. This time, a halo was added by Pilato above the head of the late Joe Paterno. However, the halo is not just a special feature for Paterno; every member on the mural that is deceased receives a halo.
But the muralist from State College is not done yet. He plans to add Nike chairman Phil Knight, former coach Jay Paterno, and the always-outspoken Franco Harris to his 100-foot-long mural.
“Phil Knight said what we’ve all been thinking. It’s just awesome that he said it as someone who is outside of the Penn State community. I felt really good when he said it, that’s for sure,” Pilato elaborated.
He also applauds Jay Paterno’s composure given the recent events. “He’s been like a brother to all of us.”
He would like to include those three people in a new section on the mural, along with Joe and Sue Paterno.
“I painted Joe up there about thirteen years ago. I’ve done about 600 more portraits since then. I’m a lot better now and I’d like to do a better painting of Joe Paterno on that mural,” Pilato explained
The 43-year old Pilato did not provide a definitive timetable in regards to the planned additions, but he hopes to paint them sometime in the spring.