While this mural may be one of the brightest, happiest murals in all of Harrisburg, it carries a vital environmental message. And the artist chosen to convey this message, Gloria Jean Martin, is a talented Black artist. Sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to bring attention to the importance of bees and other pollinators whose populations are declining amid climate change, this alleyway mural creates what’s called a “pocket park.” To further drive home the environmental message, the previously-unused alleyway was cleaned by community volunteers and transformed into a park with gardens of native pollinator-friendly plants donated by Manada Conservancy.
Gloria Jean Martin hails from Harrisburg. “I paint a lot of nature in my work and a lot of things that deal with spirituality, herbal health and wellness. So, including those things in this mural represents who I am and reflects what I do naturally,” says Martin.
“The Pollinators” is the first mural ever sponsored by DEP. “It’s an innovative tool to increase awareness about climate change,” said Kathleen Banski, DEP Environmental Education Program Coordinator. “The artwork, and the immersive local experience of walking through pocket park, helps deliver a meaningful message about the vital roles native plants and honeybees play in our environment—which project leaders hope will ultimately resonate in people’s hearts, minds, and habits.”