“Inspiration” on the west side of the Student Bookstore on East College Avenue and Hiester street has become a gathering place for visiting alumni, students, and residents as portraits in the mural continue to change with events in State College, at Penn State and in the world. The 96-foot mural features faces familiar to the Penn State community as well as members of the community who have inspired him.
Painted by local artists Michael Pilato and Yuri Karabash and designed by Michael Pilato, planning for the mural began in 1994, and actual painting began in 2001.
“It changed the whole make-up of the street. It’s gorgeous,” Norm Brown, Student Book Store owner and co-planner of the mural, said in an interview with the Daily Collegian. “I have a chance to visit other towns and there’s nothing like it.”
Several Pilato murals can be now found throughout downtown State College, most recently, a mural of Princess Nit-a-Nee above Panara Breads at the corner of S. Allen and Beaver Ave. He also has murals in Williamsport, Pa., Washington, D.C., New York, and abroad. He is known for experimenting with new materials and techniques, and especially for his outreach to involve communities in his artwork.