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Hudson River Mural Unites Community

When you walk along the Hudson River in Kingsland Point Park, your eyes are immediately drawn to vibrant colors and words which touch your heart. The last remnant of the General Motors Plant – a barren wall- has been transformed intoThe Wishing Wall, El Muro de los Sueños.

The mural spans 250 feet and represents the ideas and work of professional and volunteer artists, community groups, and students from the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns.

In August, the Village of Sleepy Hollow gathered ideas from the public and then engaged three artists, Erin Carney, Tim Grajek and Katie Reidy, who collaborated and developed the overall theme and organization of the mural. The images of air, earth, water, and humanity stretch across the entire wall. The individual panels and drawings reflect: What are your hopes and dreams for the future? For yourself, loved ones, our community, the world...

Sleepy Hollow High School freshman Samantha Poy created a panel called “Reach For the Stars,” which depicts an outline of a girl, surrounded by stars, who reaches toward the sky filled with butterflies. Members of her Girl Scout Troop 1484 helped her paint.

“I wanted people to reach for their goals and strive for what they want. If you do not have any goals, you are not going to go anywhere,” said Samantha who also noted how she and the other girls grew closer as a result of working together.

One of the goals of the organizers was to create a sense of community from this project. Ruby Wild-Arons, a sixth grader at Sleepy Hollow Middle School, painted with her grandmother as part of the Neighborhood House Intergenerational Art program. Their drawing shows a heart connected to a peace sign and doves. “(We) are wishing peace for each other right now because we have a pandemic…it was important to do that to add a little more hope to what is happening,” said Ruby.

Edge-on-Hudson owns the mural and is developing a public park on this parcel of land. The mural is only temporary, and the idea is that the wishes will float into the world.

Many of these desires appear across the mural: I wish for a future for every person to live without fear, peace for every person and an end to hunger.

SHHS freshman Nina Lyppens painted along many panels of the wall and worked with the professional artists and in turn coordinated volunteers. She looked at the completed project with pride.  “Art can unite people,” said Nina. “You do not need words; there is no language barrier in art, and everyone can identify. (This mural) is a patchwork of all the people who came and contributed and felt the need to help out.”

Many other students contributed to the mural like Hugo Jercinovic, who drew Captain Kidd’s pirate ship, which legend has landed on Kingsland Bay. Washington Irving third grader Chloe Yagoda designed a rainbow bridge with hearts with her grandmother. Maria Mayor, a second grade student from Morse, wishes her painting to show that we are human no matter what our skin color. Her brother Nicholas, a senior at SHHS, hopes for an end to gun violence and racism.

The Village of Sleepy Hollow funded the Wall of Wishes. The Mural Planning Committee, under the leadership of Diana Loja and Kersten Harries, worked with Mayor Ken Wray and Village Trustees to bring the ideas to fruition.