Beautify the Barriers 2022

Beautify the barriers

Near the exit of our parking lot is a line of formerly plain concrete "jersey" barriers. They now mark the property line with style thanks to the efforts of ten painters from our community! Throughout the month of May, the artists painted their colorful designs onto the barriers, each interpreting the 2022 Summer Learning Program theme, "Oceans of Possibilities," in a unique way. Enjoy the barriers as you exit the library each time you visit, and learn more about the artists and their designs on this page or download the PDF version.

Special thanks to Art Depot, Mechanicsburg for their generous sponsorship of this project!

Katlyn Baer and Green Ridge Elementary School Fifth Grade Students: Barrier 1 (next to the stop sign)
Katlyn Baer--Barrier 1Bio: Katlyn Baer is an Elementary Art Educator at Green Ridge Elementary in the Cumberland Valley School District. She is passionate about community based art education. Providing students with learning opportunities outside the walls of a classroom is vital to developing a well rounded arts education. Collaboration within our larger community fosters deeper connections and understandings to the people around us and prepares students for life and work in the 21st century. Students develop not only artistic skills but also universal qualities that help them in all areas of life including persistence, leadership, collaboration, creative thinking and problem solving, as well as agency, self-discovery, and self-expression. Perhaps most importantly, community based art projects provide our youth with a platform through which they can share their voice. This is my continued calling as an arts educator, to provide my students with such opportunity to find their voice and be heard. Design: Green Ridge Elementary fifth grade students worked collaboratively to complete the mural design. This piece depicts an angler fish lighting a book for our Green Ridge Gator mascot to read. The two characters are captivated as the power of reading unlocks mysteries of the world, with imagery jumping right off the page. From the deepest depths of the ocean to the expansive outreach of space, we truly live in a world full of possibilities limited only by our own imaginations. 5th grade artists are drawing inspiration from mixed media artist Andy Saczynski. Inspired by Florida's coastal landscape and wildlife, Saczynski is well known for giving new life and purpose to broken, unwanted, and discarded objects. While working on our mural, students discovered how repurposing and recycling materials helps keep unwanted waste out of our oceans. This mural was created with the “parachute cloth” method of installation. The mural design was painted on a thin mural fabric with acrylic paints, allowing the mural itself to be transported between collaborating classrooms. The completed artwork was attached to the surface of the concrete barrier with a gel medium.

Suzanne Hair: Barrier 2
Suzanne Hair--Barrier 2Bio: Suzanne Hair is a local artist from Mechanicsburg, PA, working primarily in mosaic. Her work has been exhibited at Metropolis in Mechanicsburg, HIVE artspace in York, and Eyes Gallery in Philadelphia. She has also participated in the Foundry Day art festival in Boiling Springs, Odd Ones Bazaar at The Millworks in Harrisburg, The HBG Flea, Harvest of the Arts in Carlisle, and Bazaart holiday art market at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. View examples of her work on Instagram: @broken_art_mosaics. Design: In keeping with the Summer Learning theme, “Oceans of Possibilities”, this barrier design depicts an underwater scene where the sea creatures spell out the word “read”. The background is ocean blue with the sea creatures and coral painted in bright colors. She uses acrylic paint on parachute nylon. That method worked well last year and gives her the ability to do a lot of the painting offsite.

Logan Burke and Molly Goehring: Barrier 3
Logan Burke and Molly Goehring--Barrier 3Bio: Logan Burke’s digital illustrations are clever and full of wit, while Molly Goehring’s background in painting focuses on color and connection. Together, they create vibrant, playful work that mixes humor with bold design. Design: Books are a treasure, both in the hearts of readers and for two pirates, who have sailed the high seas in search of the perfect thing to read.


Molly Goehring: Barrier 4
Molly Goehring--Barrier 4Bio: Molly Goehring is a Mechanicsburg artist whose work focuses on color, connection, and her own past experiences. A graduate of Penn State Harrisburg, she creates in a variety of media, including paint, mixed media, and illustration. Design: What’s better than a mermaid? A mermaid who reads! Since stories are made to be shared, this mermaid is reading one of her favorite tales to a group of her ocean-dwelling friends. Visit her website to see more of her work:

Sarah, Chris, and Rachel Becking: Barrier 5
Sarah, Chris, and Rachel Becking--Barrier 5Bio: Katherine is a first year student studying civil engineering at Cornell University, who graduated from Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School in 2021. She also enjoys fiber arts and learning how to play new musical instruments. Design: A giant squid attacking a ship is within the oceans of possibilities, but this particular giant squid decided to let the ships sail on. It’s going to read some books instead. Seeing one of the neighbors read draws a few nearby fish in to select their stories.

Katherine Becking: Barrier 6
Katherine Becking--Barrier 6Bio: The Becking family enjoyed beautifying Simpson’s barriers so much in 2021 that they are doing it again! Sarah conceived the basic design concept, having ideas but not much else. She’s a librarian and digs everything about Summer Learning Programs. Rachel oversaw the artistic process and execution with humor and a trained hand. She’s good with improv and pays attention to art and pop culture. She’s a junior at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School. Chris motivates and keeps the team on track. He’s worked with a lot of teams doing a lot of projects, but this is pretty much his favorite. Design: The artwork depicts a kelp forest ecosystem with a literary twist. The leaves of books emerge among the leaves of bull kelp. A sea otter reads to her pup as they keep the sea urchin population under control. One of the urchins devours an audio book rather than scarfing down another kelp plant. Some Garibaldi fish peruses their options in the kelp library. We think that reading helps the human community work together better as well. You might say that words, stories, and books stabilize the oceans of possibility.

Maya Calderwood: Barrier 7
Maya Calderwood--Barrier 7Bio: Maya grew up with a creative mom so she has always had art-related hobbies which led to her adding an art degree while in college. In her classes, she learned many types of art including photography, drawing, pottery, and printmaking. After graduating from Lebanon Valley College in 2019, Maya worked with a friend to self-publish a children’s book which she wrote and Maya illustrated. During the day, Maya works as a software developer, so she dedicates her evenings and weekends to working on art. Currently, she mostly focuses on pottery and painting. With her pottery, she paints detailed designs and illustrations on the pieces. Inspired by nature, her work often depicts landscapes using reference pictures from her own travels. Examples of her work can be found at her Instagram account: @evergreenwanderings. Design: The design depicts an underwater scene of different types of animals reading books. Animals of varying sizes, including an octopus, are the main focus with a coral reef on the left featuring smaller animals. The goal of this design is to show that there is a book for everyone, no matter the type of reader. At the top of the barrier is a person fishing in a boat with a book caught on the line. 

Laura Mumma: Barrier 8
Laura Mumma--Barrier 8Bio: Laura Mumma is a librarian at Simpson Library. She minored in fine arts in college but was only brave enough to take an applied art class her senior year! Over the past half century, she has dabbled in a variety of mediums: decoupage, mosaics, applique, embroidery and needlepoint, refashioning vintage jewelry, and macramé. Ultra-doodling, however, has been her recent preoccupation. That, and refurbishing/reimagining family heirlooms/furniture so that she can pass them on to her millennial children keeping these timeless treasures out of a yard sale or flea market. Design: Curl Up With a Good Adventure: There is nothing quite like curling up with a good book and diving into the ocean of possibilities within its pages. And what could be better than sharing your reading time with others? These seahorses and octopus are reading together on the ocean floor...perhaps in the octopus's garden. Humans might curl up on sofas and big comfy chairs. Afterwards it is time for cookies and milk and sharing stories. (Or plankton and crustaceans in the case of our salty friends.) This mural also hopes to emphasize the glories of the spiral which is one of the most amazing shapes around! Just look up "Fibonacci spiral in nature" in an image search!

Madylynn Onativia: Barrier 9
Photo coming soon! Bio: Madylynn is a 15 year old artist from Mechanicsburg. She is in her freshman year of high school. All of her life she has been drawn to art. In her free time, Madylynn likes to read, play soccer, and make art. After high school, Madylynn hopes to attend college to become a RN. Design: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss is about a child setting off into the world to see what life will bring them, encountering all sorts of crazy adventures along the way. In other words, we get to follow the child as they go, well, the places they’ll go! The teacher is reading this book to inspire them. Each of the student fish are daydreaming about what they want to be when they grow up. For this design, the artist used heavy body acrylic paint. This design is intended to be more cartoon style. The uneven texture of the concrete will allow us to see texture for the coral and the fish.

Casey Grove and Joni Logue: Barrier 10
Casey Grove and Joni Logue--Barrier 10Bio: Casey Grove is about to graduate from the fourth grade, is a well rounded student and has loved art since she was 3 years old. She was inspired by many other artists who painted the barriers in the previous year. She always wanted to visit them every time we went to the library to check out books. Her teacher is Mrs. Kirbos, and she has always encouraged her love for art and provided a positive environment to help her passion grow. Casey also wanted to paint the barrier because she wants to inspire other kids to paint and grow their artistic ability. Casey shared, “I wanted to paint something that would show all the opportunities we have as we learn and grow. Learning is a gift every child has and how we use it is up to us. I know the world is a huge place and with all the tools I am given, I can be anything I want to be. The library gives me the gift to learn and be anything I want to be no matter how I grow up. The “Oceans of Possibilities” are endless!!!” Design: The barrier Casey created signifies that you can do many different things if you explore the "possibilities". The world is a beautiful place and your dreams can come true no matter what you look like, or where you came from, or how old you are, or where your journey started. You can be a zookeeper, or a nurse, or a police officer, or a teacher, or an artist, or a musician, or a librarian, or an astronaut, or a tornado chaser...the possibilities are endless!!!

Erica Hardy-Abreu: Barrier 11 
Erica Hardy-AbreuBio: No matter the medium when I create a piece, I like to explore the relationship between Art and Story. In a world that feels very divisive, stories and art connect us to our communities and to each other. The projects I am most passionate about allow me to explore this connection while amplifying marginalized voices and experiences. With a background in film and animation, as well as traditional art, my work is bright, approachable, and easy to visually read. Design: Inspired by libraries being a place of exploration and the theme of “Oceans of Possibilities,” my design features a horizon at sunset. On the back of a giant turtle, two children stare out at an island in the distance, their belongings indicate that they have been camping on the back of this turtle for some time. The piece will be whimsical with no signs of shipwreck, hardship, or dead parents. It should invoke questions like, are the children returning home or are they on an adventure? The artist used lightfast acrylic paint. 

Erica Hardy-Abreu and Friends: Barrier 12
Erica Hardy-Abreu--Barrier 12Design: Libraries are not only an integral part of our communities, but are often the first community resource used by children. Inspired by this I invited my son and his classmates to help me with this barrier. They have been practicing writing and illustrating their own stories all year so I gave them free rein and let them decide what “Oceans of Possibilities” meant to them. Each child got to illustrate a book to share with a cheerful menagerie of sea creatures.

From left to right: “Watching the ocean on the grass” and “Shark fin” by Aiden, Age 6
“Crab reading a book and then it rained” by Amalia, Age 6
“Electric eel eating a fish in the rain” and “Heart fish, it makes other fish fall in love” by Leo, Age 6
“Sunset” and “Water splashing” by Elly, Age 6
“Mermaid magic” and “Sharing is caring” designed by Andrew (Erica’s husband)
“A fish eating seaweed” and “A fish swimming” by Aiden B., Age 8
“Sea rocks” and “Chicken, the octopus” by Chase B., Age 6

Special Thanks to:

Andrew Hayter for taking photos of the artists with their painted barriers to display in the library.

Brian Edmondson, owner of Art Depot in Mechanicsburg, for sponsoring this program.

Brian Gross, owner of John Gross and Co, for allowing his jersey barriers to be painted.

Boy Scout Troop 55, Lemoyne for cleaning up weeds around the barriers in Spring 2022.

Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory and Buhrig’s Gathering Place for donating bottled water for the reception on June 5.

Trent Mellott and James Van Kirk for painting the white base coat on the barriers.


Page Updated

June 14, 2022