YSU designer works on Struthers mural

Rachelle Joy with the mural in Struthers.

The Struthers community maintains civic pride, and residents such as YSU’s own Rachell Joy have proven it in an 840 square-foot way.

A new mural on Struthers’ State Street that depicts the past and present of the city was designed by Joy, a layout design artist in YSU’s Office of Media and Academic Computing.

Joy, a resident of Struthers for more than 20 years and a member of the Struthers Block Watch, was asked to become involved in the project by her neighbor, Melanie Rauschenbach, a local business owner. “We don’t have a lot of crime in the area, so (Rauschenbach) said ‘Well, we should probably be about community projects,’” said Joy. “She said ‘You know what I’m going to ask you next: will you design a mural for us?’”

Joy spent about 52 hours designing the project last winter. With the help of Struthers Councilman Tony Fire, input from the Struthers Historical Society and the approval Struthers’ Mayor Terry P. Stocker and City Council, the project forged forward. Joy used CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to scan the images, redraw a few, and complete the design for the 70-foot wall that is on the southwest side of the Vasco Electric building on State Street.

About half of the images are of structures no longer present in Struthers, including the Hopewell Furnace, the old Route 616 Bridge, and the former high school building. Also included are the Wildcats mascot and local war memorials.

After the design was finalized, the outline had to be transferred from the computer to the wall. During the night, a group of volunteers borrowed a projector, and once Joy printed her designs onto transparencies, they set to work tracing the outlines. The mural crew, a volunteer group from Struthers and surrounding areas, is there “just about every night as long as it’s not raining,” said Joy. The mural was dedicated to the community this fall.

“Murals, they really help to bring people together,” she said. “I believe it’s something that can work anywhere, to bring some community unity and sense of pride and get people involved to meet each other.”

Story by Harry Evans