The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 21, 2013

Muralist tackles Danville project

By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item

DANVILLE — She’s painted large indoor murals and decorated Miles of Mules.

Jo Pennypacker is beginning her largest and first outdoor mural  — Danville’s second mural to be painted on the wall of Royal Nails Salon at 347 Mill St.

She is working on the design which will have an iron-related historic theme. The design includes suggestions made by the public at a meeting held in April. The design will be submitted for the approval of the Danville Business Alliance design committee.

She has received the fabric which will be painted on. It is a polytab material that will be primed with an exterior acrylic primer. “Once I have the wall measures and the final design, I will transfer the design onto the fabric in a grid-method,” the Valley Township resident said. Panels to be painted will be 5-feet by 5-feet.

The public will be asked to help with public painting days to be announced. She expects the first paint day to be the end of June.

Painting will be done in the parking lot of Cole’s Hardware on Ferry Street. Paint days will probably be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays with Pennypacker hoping people attending the growers’ market next to Cole’s will participate.

She hopes the mural can be painted by the end of July and installed by the end of August.

Warrior Run graduate and Philadelphia muralist Jon Laidecker recently visited Danville to provide instructions on applying the mural to the wall. He is expected to return when Pennypacker is ready to install the panels. 

She will be installing the mural with a gel applied to the wall and to the back of the  panels. “After it is all installed and dried, a clear sealer will be applied,” she said. The mural is expected to last 10 to 20 years.

Pennypacker, who is finishing her degree at Bloomsburg University in art with an emphasis on studio art, applied for and received an undergraduate grant from BU which will cover a stipend for her for the project. The business alliance is paying for the materials.

“We’ve gotten in-kind donations such as Cole’s for use of the space and Cole’s donating the primer and other supplies. Miller Bros. Construction is assessing the wall for its condition and power washing and priming it to fix any defects,” she said of that work to be finished by mid-July.

A shed, on loan from Rocky Mountain Structures in the Danville area, will be set up at Cole’s lot to house their supplies. 

She hopes to take panels to other locations, such as the Danville Area Community Center, so people can paint them there.

People unable to make the paint dates can make appointments by calling the business alliance at (570) 284-4502.

Originally from Mississippi and having worked in Bucks County 20-plus years, Pennypacker finished three years at the University of Southern Mississippi. In Bucks County, she had her own business where she did decorative painting, fine art and murals from 2001-07. “One summer I did six murals — that was the most in one period of time,” she said.

 She met her husband David, originally from Millville, online in 2006 and they moved to the Danville area in 2007.

Pennypacker works primarily in acrylic and mixed media collage but also does photography printed on canvas. Some of her creations and David’s works are on display through July 14 in Old Forge Brewing Co., 282 Mill St. They also participate in the Susquehanna Art Society annual show.

Pennypacker worked on a Miles of Mules public project in 2003 in Bucks County. She applied for and was accepted to decorate three life-size Fiberglas mules. “They were for the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor,” she said.

She also took part in signing the mules she decorated in the book “Miles of Mules.”

She did a mule for Premier Bank in Doylestown that she was asked to repaint in 2009 when the bank became Monument Bank. The mule’s suit changed from blue to green.

She designed a mule with peacock feather eyes and with feathers on for the Bucks County Herald which has a feather logo.  Her third creation was a construction worker mule, sporting leather boots and a hard hat, for Keenan Motors while its Mercedes dealership was being built.

All three mules remain on display.