Take a step in front of the newest mural on Pittston’s Main Street and you’ll have a chance to take flight — if only for the moment that artist Sue Manganiello’s painted angel wings appear to flare out from your back, reaching toward the sky from the sidewalk.
“You stand in front of it and you become part of the art,” Manganiello said.
The latest addition to downtown’s public art collection, at 131 N. Main St., invites passersby to engage and interact with it, practically begging those who do to snap a photo and share the shot of themselves with the illusion of wings.
“People are getting out there and getting creative,” Manganiello said.
The mural is the first Manganiello has contributed to the city streets — as an artist with the Arts on Fire project, she has painted three city fire hydrants in various designs, but she “never thought” she would get the chance to paint the wing mural when she first had the idea.
“At first I was terrified to put paint on the wall,” she said. “I think it took me a week to do that.”
She started working on the mural in November and said she changed the wing’s shape three times as she initially outlined it in chalk. Her paints started to freeze on her brushes as she worked outside through December, but she continued working until the mural was complete and ready for people to enjoy.
“It’s not exactly what I envisioned,” she said. “But sometimes it (the mural) tells you what it wants to do.”
The Pittston Arts Council raised the funding for the wings while the owner of the building, Verdine Enterprises LLC, supplied overhead lighting so the mural would be visible day and night.
The wings represent a genre Manganiello called illusion art that encourages viewers to interact with and make themselves part of a piece.
Winged murals themselves have begun to pop up all over the country, with the “WhatLiftsYou” wings mural in Nashville, Tennessee as a popular example. Sets of wings have even shown up in Scranton’s Marketplace at Steamtown.
Most of those murals come with a social media hashtag for people to use when sharing photos, and Manganiello’s is no different. While the cold of winter may be deterring people at the moment, Manganiello hopes to see plenty of photos in the warmer months tagged with #pittstonangel.
Manganiello said this is her first foray into the realm of illusion art and hopes she has only just begun in her mural contributions to Pittston.
“I never in a million years thought this would be something that would come to fruition,” she said. “I hope I get to do more. I have a lot of ideas.”