Hummingbird mural inspires people to ‘see the beauty in everyday life’

Written by on August 24, 2021

Hummingbird mural inspires people to ‘see the beauty in everyday life’

By Megan Frank

August 24, 2021

Sarah Karess with her paintbrush and paint bucket at the site of her hummingbird mural at the Allentown Transportation Center. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

Bus riders in Allentown will soon be greeted by a nature-inspired mural off of Sixth Street.

Listen to the story.

Despite piping hot August temperatures, artist Sarah Karess is hard at work on the mural at the Allentown Transportation Center

As she dips her brush in a bucket of green paint and slaps it onto a rough wall in front of the LANTA terminal, giant leaves emerge around a hummingbird.

“My idea was to brighten up the bus station with something a little bit unexpected,” Karess said. “I wanted to use a hummingbird as an example of something little that might go unseen or overlooked. I made it huge so that people know to stop and be present and appreciate little things in life.”

The hummingbird mural work is a work in progress at the Allentown Transportation Center. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

The hummingbird mural will complement a pedestrian walkway, complete with new shelters, lighting and landscaping. 

Karess is painting while construction crews renovate the terminal. Next door, a retail space with 250 apartments, called Linden Street Commons, is going up.

“I know it’s going to be really cool because they can see the mural out front of their windows,” Karess said. 

The hummingbird mural is funded by part of a $60,000 art relief grant from the Allentown Arts Commission. It includes more than a dozen projects.

Sarah Karess working on her hummingbird mural at the Allentown Transportation Center. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

This is Karess’ fourth mural. In early August, she painted a mural in Bethlehem, literally on the asphalt, at Adams and East Third streets. 

“[The Bethlehem mural] has hands holding out flowers to people walking by just to drive home the idea of community, kindness and self-care,” Karess said.

Karess, 29, has a full time job as a graphic designer, so she uses her vacation time for projects like this.

“It’s unreal to go from a mock-up on your computer to seeing it in real life,” she said, “I just feel honored that anyone would want to have my artwork that large.” 

Outside of the Allentown Transportation Center which will reopen on September 10. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

She hopes her creation will uplift riders or at least give them a good excuse to take a selfie.

“I tried to make it interactive,” Karess said. “People can hold their hand out as if they’re feeding the hummingbirds.”

The project wraps up in a couple of days. The terminal reopens on Sept. 10.

The hummingbird mural work is a work in progress at the Allentown Transportation Center. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

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