Mural adds some color to Observatory Hill


Left: Scaffolding has covered the new mural, painted on the side of Mr. Bill’s, for the past few weeks. The piece will be unveiled this Saturday at 3 p.m.

A mural depicting some little-known history of Perry high schools will be unveiled next Saturday in Observatory Hill.

The piece of public artwork is painted onto the side of Mr. Bill’s Tap and Grill on Perrysville Road on the side of the building that directly faces Perry High School. The mural was sponsored by Moving the Lives of Kids Murals, a program that involves youth in art by creating murals.  

“What we do is partner professional artist with youth to create public art,” said MLK Murals Operations Director and artist Joy Taylor, who noted the positive impact that projects like these have on kids and communities.

MLK has created over 200 murals in the city of Pittsburgh, though Taylor believes this is the first in The Northside.

The immense size of the multi-story brick canvas, has limited youth involvement on the mural, but several local Northside teens made contributions and worked on the project.

Perry High School student and Brighton Heights resident John Grguras was one of the several young people involved in the project. He worked mostly building scaffolding at the site

“It’s fun,” he said.

MLK pays students who assist with the murals, and employ them for the summer job.

The mural will depict The Battle of Lake Erie was the final battle of the War of 1812. Though the battle was not fought in Pittsburgh or the Northside, Perry High School was named after The Battle of Lake Erie’s commander Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

Saturday, when the mural will be unveiled, will be the 198th anniversary of the battle.

Taylor said incorporating the history of the high school’s names was important to Bill Schmidt, owner of Mr. Bill’s Tap & Grill, who offered MLK Murals the space.

“It was really important to him to give back to the community,” she said.

Students wishing to become involved can apply at their website,

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