Pilato to Honor Newtown, Boston Victims on Mural

The victims of the recent events at Boston and Newtown have been in the hearts and minds of everyone in this country, and indeed, in the Penn State community. In remembrance, local muralist Michael Pilato will dedicate a new section of his Heister Street mural to celebrate the lives which were tragically lost in those two terrible tragedies.

Below is the foreground of the addition which will be added to Pilato’s “Inspiration Mural” next fall:

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In the middle is a formally dressed Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who lost his life in last Monday’s explosions near the Boston Marathon finish line. He’s holding a colorful banner which includes the names of the two others who were killed in last week’s blasts (Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell), as well as a brief but inspiring message: “No more hurting people. Peace.” The placement of the message was motivated by this touching photo which has been circulating around the Internet during the last few days.  Additionally, Pilato says he will add the name of Sean Collier, the fallen police officer in Thursday night’s shootout at MIT, to the pennant.

To the left is Emilie Parker, one of 20 first-graders who lost their lives four months ago at Sandy Hook. Shortly after the Newtown massacre, her father delivered a heartbreaking speech in front of a national audience.

Lastly, Pilato and his longtime assistant Yuriy Kabash are shown in the blue and yellow painting as children.

“The biggest thing I wanted to mention is Martin’s message, I think it’s so important,” said Pilato. “It’s the thing I’ve been fighting for for the last five years.”

This is all part of a 12-foot tall addition that features Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient who has been an advocate of sexual abuse awareness. She’ll be flanked by other figures in the Penn State community and beyond such as Joe Paterno (again), Franco Harris, Ryan McCombie, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey, and Sugar Ray Leonard in the photo of a future addition shown here:

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On Saturday morning, many members of the community gathered to show support for the victims of this week’s tragic events in Boston. After a moment of silence at the mural, Pilato led the group on a walk to Beaver Stadium.

In the future, Pilato wishes to contact and invite the families of Martin Richard and Emilie Parker to State College so they can cement their handprints on the mural as hundreds have done before.

He hopes to add this new section on the day of the Penn State football home opener in September.

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Ryan Beckler

Ryan is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He is a Lion Ambassador who loves giving tours to prospective students. His favorite activities include distributing news and consuming Chipotle.

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