Project: Westchester MRF Education Center
In 2013, the Westchester County Department of Environmental Services initiated a project to create an art gallery at the Education and Conference Center of theWestchester County Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Located in Yonkers, NY, the Center hosts seminars on recycling and offers tours of the MRF to school classes, scout troops and special interest groups. Six local artists were enlisted to create art for the new gallery.
Piero Manrique was approached with a request to design large-scale murals throughout the space. Asked to choose an inspiring theme for the murals, he decided to create a series of nature scenes which would remind visitors of the importance of recycling for the protection of the environment and its animal inhabitants. His goal in designing these murals was for viewers "to experience their inherent links to the land and wild animals, and to realize the interrelationship between ourselves and the natural world." Manrique decided he wanted viewers "to feel the magical aspect of nature... to not only connect to the pieces, but to feel inspired by them." So he created four different exhilarating landscapes that make a memorable impact upon visitors to the Center.
Upon entering the lobby of the Center, visitors first walk beneath a 10-ft x 24-ft skylight shaft which features Manrique's cascading waterfall four-sided mural. The changing natural light from the skylight at different times of the day affects the colors in a mesmerizing fashion. Moving farther into the lobby, visitors look up at the ceiling to see Manrique's 30-ft. x 8-ft. mural of the sky with eagles soaring above a mountain range.
In the Center's classroom, Manrique created a floor to ceiling wall mural measuring 35-ft x 8-ft of an underwater scene filled with exotic turtles and coral reefs. This mural is a particular favorite with the school classes that visit the Center. For the Center's conference room, Manrique was asked to create a timeline mural depicting the reclamation of a portion of the shoreline along the Hudson river which was once used as an extensive garbage dump. The 40-ft. x 8-ft. mural begins with a truck dumping trash at one end, and flows into a view of the land as it appears today covered by grass and flowers. At the opposite end of the mural from the truck is a new recycling center that was built along the river.
Manrique used semi-gloss house paints to produce all of these murals and finished them with a coat of clear polymer, so they will stand up to the wear and tear of classroom visitors and are easily cleaned. To watch a video of Manrique painting the ceiling Eagle mural, click here.