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Art Sparks

Art can transform a public space. Art can spark a young mind. And when joined together art can add an element of surprise to a simple rest stop, revealing unknown beauty the the journey. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the PCA has created a new program called Art Sparks that will place student-created murals in Turnpike Service Plazas to bring unexpected beauty and excitement to drivers' travels, while giving young artists a unique creative opportunity.


Students at Lower Dauphin High School working on the mural for the Lawn Service Plaza on the PA Turnpike


Art Sparks aims to install a local, student-created art piece in every Service Plaza system-wide over the next five years. 
A school that resides in the municipality of a chosen Service Plaza will be selected by the PCA and its Arts in Education (AIE) partners to participate in the program. Students will have autonomy in choosing the subject matter of the final piece, but each artwork will highlight subjects specific to the respective region of Pennsylvania.


Students will work with teaching artists from the PCA’s nationally-recognized AIE program, which pairs experienced teaching artists with educators in schools and community settings across the commonwealth. PC
A teaching artist residencies teach conceptual thinking, visual and creative skills, promote team work, and engage students of all abilities and learning styles. 

Rest. Stop. Imagine all the places you could go.


Students at Lower Dauphin High School working on the mural for the Lawn Service Plaza on the PA Turnpike


Pilot Project: Lawn Service Plaza + Lower Dauphin School District

  • Local AIE project partner, Jump Street, is coordinating with the teaching artist, Meg Davis, and Lower Dauphin High School art class. 
  • The mural will be installed in the main entrance of the Lawn Service Plaza. 
  • A small plaque explaining the program will be located at the Lawn Service Plaza to inform visitors about the origin of the mural. 
  • The planned unveiling will take place the week of May 15th to coincide with Memorial Day.


Projects To-date

Lawn Service Plaza -- Completed

Created by Lower Dauphin High School students, with teaching artist Meg Caruso and art teacher Dana Attivo; administered by PCA Arts in Education Partner, Jump Street  

Oakmont Service Plaza -- Completed

Created by students at Riverview Junior/Senior High School, with teaching artist Laura Jean McLaughlin and art teacher Glenn Garrison; administered by PCA Arts in Education Partner, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Somerset Service Plaza -- Completed

Created by students at Somerset Area High School, with teaching artist Martha Murphy and art teacher Kayla Borosky; administered by PCA Arts in Education Partner, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art 

King of Prussia Service Plaza -- Completed

Created by students at Radnor High School, with teaching artist Bailey Cypress and art teachers Tracey Dean and Erik Barrett; administered by PCA Arts in Education Partner, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership 

New Stanton - Scheduled for fall 2018

Cumberland Valley - Scheduled for fall 2018



Radnor High School art students stand at the unveiling celebration for the mural series they created for the King of Prussia service plaza with teaching artist Bailey Cypress and art teachers Tracey Dean and Erik Barrett (June 2018)



Representatives from the PA Turnpike Commission, PA Arts and Education Partnership, PA Council on the Arts and artist Bailey Cypress (third from right) stand in front of the newly installed murals at the King of Prussia service plaza (June 2018)