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P: 570.501.2784

First Federal DHAP donationThe Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP) received a $10,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use toward the creation of its second mural in downtown Hazleton.

DHAP is planning the new mural to further beautify the downtown, inspire future investment and revitalization, and show community pride. The finished mural will measure approximately 50 feet long by 40 feet high (2,000 SF) and will be adhered to the west side of the former Security Savings Bank building, now under renovation to become a new City Arts Center. The theme will reflect various aspects of the City’s culture and community values.

This mural will be undertaken by Power City Arts, which is a partnership of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Hazleton Integration Project, Luzerne County Community College (LCCC), and the DeAngelo family, who has also donated funds to the project. Power City Arts, which is being led by teaching artist Mary Veronica Sweeney, is a new jobs-training and community-building effort for future young creative professionals in the Greater Hazleton area, which is modeled after the Philadelphia Mural Arts program established in 1984. 

Luzerne County Community College recently hired Sweeney as an adjunct faculty member to work with student artists, including several from the Hazleton Area Arts and Humanities Academy. A special element of the program is the pre-college credit under LCCC's Communication Arts major degree program for which the tuition has been partially underwritten by the First Federal Charitable Grant. Under Sweeney’s direction, the students have been designing the mural that will be affixed to the building on several panels. The design will also be influenced by input from project partners and the general public.

In this project-based learning format, students will explore professional-level mural-painting skills, lectures on the history of mural arts, entrepreneurial portfolio development guidance, field studies, and critical community support with a plan to interact as mentors to the younger muralists of Hazleton Integration Project.

Krista Schneider, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress executive director, said of the project, “This will take us one step further to implementing our strategic plan, which is to create an Arts and Innovation District within the core of the downtown. With both the Arts Center and business incubator buildings now undergoing the first phases of renovation, the new City Park now established, the large office buildings all being renovated, Lackawanna College expanding to the Trader’s Bank building, and two buildings also being renovated for restaurants, this district will soon be a hub of activity. The arts have always been central to this. We are thrilled to have all these partners sharing this vision, and are especially grateful to the First Federal Foundation, which has been a key contributor to our physical improvement projects since day one.”

The project will follow Hazleton’s first mural that was completed and dedicated earlier this year. That mural, located on the side of the Hazle Drug building – one of Hazleton’s longest operating businesses – celebrates the history of Hazleton and includes historical elements such as a coal miner, the former Feeley Theater, Hazle Drugs, and depiction of Thomas Edison, who installed electrical service to make Hazleton the third city in the world with two-wire, three-phase streetlights in the mid-1880s.

DHAP is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide sustainable leadership, direction, and support for the successful, efficient revitalization and long-term success of downtown Hazleton. Believing that progress is dependent upon public-private partnerships, the organization includes representation from the City of Hazleton, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, CAN DO, the CAN DO Community Foundation, DHD Realty (the DeAngelo and Hayden families), Luzerne County Community College, Penn State Hazleton, the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, and leadership from within the Latino community.

Several years ago, DHAP initiated a façade improvement program thanks to $60,000 in grant funding it received over two years from the First Federal Charitable Foundation.

Megan Kennedy, First Federal Charitable Foundation executive director, said, “The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress has been a great friend of our foundation. The progress they have made over the past several years in their downtown revitalization efforts is remarkable and it has had a very positive impact on our city. We were happy to give them this grant toward the latest mural project for the downtown, as it will continue the tradition of the arts being alive in Hazleton.”

The First Federal Charitable Foundation was established to support worthwhile community causes. It strives to nurture nonprofit institutions and programs that will effectively serve those in need from the community, empower nonprofit institutions and programs that will expand their presence in and services to the area, and promote opportunities for new nonprofit institutions and programs that will serve the unserved.

Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) IRS designation that are located in Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon and Columbia counties are eligible to apply. Any organization whose headquarters is in another county but services either Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon or Columbia Counties may apply for a grant to be used in one of those counties.

CAPTION: Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress Executive Director Krista Schneider, center, accepts a $10,000 grant check from First Federal Charitable Foundation Executive Director Megan Kennedy. Also pictured are, from left: Anthony Cusatis, president of the First Federal Charitable Foundation Board of Directors; Mary Veronica Sweeney, mural artist; and Neal DeAngelo III, DHAP Board of Directors president.

First Federal Charitable Foundation

8 West Broad Street, Suite 208
Hazleton, PA 18201
P: 570.501.2784