Trail Banner Art Initiative


Banners are organized into five categories to reflect the diverse “lenses” through which the landscape can be viewed. Each category is represented by a color: Green: flora; Orange: history; Blue: river views; Yellow: fauna; Purple: trail users. Each banner is the result of many creative minds and hands.

The 2007 Banners were designed by graphic design students at the McKeesport Area Technology Center instructed by Michael Spagnola and students at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh through classes taught by Ann Rosenthal. AIP instructor Karen Antonelli created the designs for the purple (trail user) banners, and contributed background designs that served as backdrops for some of the student designs. In many cases, two or more designs were combined to make an interesting composition. The designs were then painted through a series of community workshops in McKeesport and Pittsburgh, which included over one hundred people of all ages and abilities, with the majority being students between the ages of 8 and 20.

The 2008 Banners were researched, designed, and painted by Propel Middle School students in Homestead and McKeesport. CTAI director and community artist Ann Rosenthal worked with Stefanie Maas’ art class at Propel Homestead and the Art Club at Propel McKeesport supervised by teacher Brad Gentile. It was a privilege to work with these dedicated teachers, and Propel Schools were wonderfully supportive of the Initiative. Given Propel’s interdisciplinary and arts focus, the CTAI was a great fit!

After the banners are painted by the students, they are refined and finished by AIP students, local artists, and Ann Rosenthal. This final step gives the banners a professional touch. The banners thus become a collaboration between aspiring and seasoned artists and designers!

Our gratitude goes to JoAnn Moran of for advising and leading the workshop at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and putting finishing touches on many of the banners. Special thanks also goes to Ray Oakes, a graduate of the Art Institute, who put in many long hours at the Arts Festival and afterwards to complete the banners. Additionally, our appreciation goes to the AIP Graphic Design Club and its president, Alex Harvilla, for helping out at the Arts Fest.

The creation of the trail art banners is truly a community endeavor that reflects the creativity and good will of the citizens of this region!

Author: JAM

JoAnn Moran is a muralist, she has worked with over 70,000 people of all ages and abilities to create murals for public spaces.

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