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(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) ? The Moravian College art club recently participated in Miles of Mules, "History with a Colorful Kick," a public art project brought to Pennsylvania by the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor in Eastern Pennsylvania and sponsored locally by the Banana Factory in Bethlehem. The students gave the mule the "Moravian treatment," covering the life-size fiberglass mold with a patchwork quilt in Moravian blue and gray, and a unique Moravian Star painting in each patch. Moravian's "Mule-seum of Art" can be seen on the sidewalk at Church and Main Streets on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus.
Miles of Mules is a public art project based on an idea first introduced in Zurich, Switzerland several years ago, where decorated, life-sized cows were placed on public display throughout the city and countryside. Miles of Mules expanded this idea to bring together the expressive power of art and the richness of history throughout the five counties of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor in Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond. In Pennsylvania, the mule was chosen as a representation of its industrial roots. The painted mules will be placed along the canal, where they once pulled boats full of coal headed to Philadelphia and New York. Area businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, individuals and families have sponsored more than 150 life-sized, fiberglass mules.
"Much like the mules were chosen as a symbol of Pennsylvania's past, when the Moravian Art Club got together to submit a design our thoughts were with the rich history of Moravian College," said Nicole Casola, president of the art club at Moravian. "We decided to cover the piece in a patchwork quilt in Moravian blue and grey, with a different Moravian star in each patch."
Each star is done in the style of an artist that has had an impact on contemporary art. Artists who are featured include Seurat, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Lichtenstein, and Mondrian. "As the Moravian College Art Club, we wanted to design a mule that would define our organization. The Moravian Star represents a part of who we are as Moravian students, just as the different styled stars represent our appreciation and admiration of artists before us," Nicole said. "Working with Miles for Mules was a great opportunity for us to work with the community as well as get the unusual experience to paint on such an odd medium. How many people can say they painted a life-size fiberglass mule?"
The Moravian "Mule-seum of Art" (coined by Moravian's Jan Ciganick), sponsored by Payne Gallery at Moravian College, is one of five presently on Main Street. It was painted by students Nicole Casola, Kelly Warner, Nate Kappenstein, Kristin Roberts, Laura Werner, Jon Latiano, Jon Narmita, Kim Mabry, Katrina McDaniel, Danielle Geist, Tracy Maalouf, and Sarah Handfest, as well as faculty and staff members Anne Dutlinger, Gerard Maynard, Doug Zucco, Jan Ciganick, and Dave Leidich.