The first SOS Berks mural was installed at the corner of 9th & Oley Streets in Reading during the week of July 31-August 4. You can see photos on the Berks Community Murals Instagram feed. The mural was dedicated on September 29, 2023. Painting on our second mural at 11th & Richmond Streets is currently ongoing.
The artwork was hand painted onto 60 panels by an estimated 1,000 volunteers who attended various community painting sessions over the past six months. It will be installed on a wall measuring about 1,500 square feet, adjacent to a popular Hispanic market.
SOS Berks has teamed up with Albright College and Berks Community Murals to create a series of recovery-themed murals in the Reading area. The murals will expand on our stigma reduction campaign theme “Addiction Doesn’t Define Anyone,” building on the recovery stories of individuals featured in those videos.
Under the direction of Berks Community Murals Coordinator Mike Miller, we worked with two Berks County artists to design murals for the two locations below.
Lead artist: Leslie Ramos
Located on a wall measuring about 1500 square feet, adjacent to a popular Hispanic market, this mural design is being created by artist Leslie Ramos. It is based on the recovery story of Jose Lugo, who recalled for her his life growing up in Puerto Rico, his struggles with substance use disorder, and the role his family and childhood memories played in helping him overcome those struggles. See Jose’s story here.
Lead artist: Marian Njai
Located on a building owned by Albright College in an area that is highly visible to the traffic, this mural design is being created by Reading artist Marian Njai. It is based on the recovery story of Yvonne Stroman, who discussed the many joys of life in recovery, which includes bicycling, journaling, helping others in recovery and mentoring young people. (See mockup below.)
Watch Yvonne’s story here.
About the Process
Painting the murals is a collaborative process involving numerous groups and community members. Our murals will be painted in panels on parachute cloth and later adhered to the buildings. Painting sessions are held at Albright College’s Total Learning Experience Art Studio located on Rockland St. Visit the Berks Community Murals website to learn more about the process of painting and installing murals.