Peregrine falcons are a common sight around the Rachel Carson State Office Building on Market Street in downtown Harrisburg, but now there is one more falcon calling the area home. Just around the corner from the Rachel Carson State Office Building by the Chestnut Street Garage is a new mural to brighten the neighborhood: a peregrine falcon surrounded by mountain laurel, Pennsylvania's state flower.
artist Emily Matusz, the mural is a collaboration between Sprocket Mural Works, Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District (HDID), and Harristown Enterprises.
Sprocket Mural Works started with the goal of adding more beauty to Harrisburg, and they embrace the power of art to uplift spirits. Inspired by studies of how hospitals choose art to boost the well-being of patients, Sprocket wanted to bring nature to life with vibrant colors for the community to enjoy. Matusz, a Gettysburg-based illustrator, loves animals, and the peregrine falcon was chosen for the mural as a great natural symbol of downtown Harrisburg.
"Special thanks to Sprocket Mural Works for this fantastic opportunity to create an unlikely space into one of my finest works," said Matusz. "I'd also like to thank whoever thanked and complimented my work while I was painting my wall; you guys made me feel welcome and gave me the drive to continue my largest piece yet. Feel free to bring your binoculars, indulge in some art, and enjoy!"
"Murals have the ability to uplift spirits and brighten your day," said Sprocket founder and president, Megan Caruso. "We hope during these especially challenging times that our murals offer comfort and hope."
Visitors to the mural can look just beyond the beautifully painted falcon along Blackberry Street under the Chestnut Street Garage and see the ledge of the Rachel Carson building, where
two resident peregrine falcons make their nest. Peregrine falcons have made their home year after year on the 15th floor of the building. They are followed by
four cameras, including infrared for nighttime viewing, streaming full-time year-round to give the residents of Pennsylvania and the world a glimpse into the life of these magnificent creatures.
Rachel Carson was a writer, scientist and environmentalist who studied the dangerous effects of the pesticide DDT on migratory birds and her efforts helped to regulate its use. It is a happy coincidence that the peregrine falcons choose to reside on the building which was named in her honor, which houses the Pennsylvania Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
The new mural, along with five others for 2020, adds to Harrisburg's vibrant collection of over 45 works across the city, established through Sprocket's mural fests in 2017 and 2019. Sprocket is currently in the planning stages for the 2021 Mural Fest to add to Harrisburg's growing mural trail. The mural of the peregrine falcon is right by the Amtrak station, making it the first stop for visitors who may have traveled by train to enjoy the many works of art the city has to offer.
Sprocket hopes that
Harrisburg's mural trail will be enjoyed as part of a larger Pennsylvania mural trail that includes Philadelphia's extensive collection of mural art, and that viewers of these artworks will enjoy the healing properties of art and nature and an increased sense of pride in their community and environment.
"There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." — Rachel Carson
To learn more about Sprocket, visit their
Instagram. Funding for the mural was provided by the McCormick Foundation, HDID and Harristown.