In 2006 with my wife, dancer Angeline Wolf, I founded the Totts Gap Arts Institute (TGAI), a non-profit community arts center. TGAI fosters a cooperative relationship with local communities, giving the arts an integral role in their revitalization efforts. In 2012, this vision was further manifested through the creation of the Heritage Mural/Film Education Program.
The program is a cooperative collaboration with community groups, business and local government designed to draw economic development via the creation of landmark murals. Each mural is designed by a professional artist which is then carried out by the children of the Slate Belt, under the guidance of Totts Gap artist/mentors. The goal is to empower the students by teaching art skills and life skills while producing professional work. Our first project was the award winning, large-scale mural “Old Home Week” that reflects the history and culture of Bangor, PA.
Further murals have continued to engage residents of the community in the process from design to realization, making public art the core of community revitalization. This in turn, has lead to TGAI becoming the host of a regional “Main Street” program, the Slate Belt Community Partnership.