Conserving the Inspiration Mural

Over the last decade, the Hiester Street Inspiration Mural has grown into one of Happy Valley’s most distinctive landmarks. As the mural has expanded to include more of the individuals who shape the character of our community, hundreds of Penn State students and locals have left their handprints on the wall; many thousands more have considered its array of visages, some familiar, most not, and wondered about these people and the circumstances that brought them all together. It is here, in its capacity for participatory storytelling, that I find it so inspirational.

When mural artist and State College native Michael Pilato gives one of his famous guided tours, he recounts in fascinating detail the thought process behind how and why he, along with partner Yuri Karabash, painted each subject. It becomes clear that the story behind the mural is the story of a people and their place, a unique mechanism for celebrating Penn State and State College.


As a cultural conservancy dedicated to sharing these stories, The Nittany Valley Society makes a natural partner for Pilato in creating the Nittany Valley Heritage Walk. The concrete sidewalks adjoining the mural are being replaced with a beautiful and well-maintained brick walkway, and you can become a part of it with an engraved brick featuring a personal message, dedication or memorial.

NVS_brick.jpgYour purchase represents more than the chance to become a permanent part of a local tradition; it is a donation that will support preservation of the mural and our cultural conservation efforts. Each brick on the Nittany Valley Heritage Walk is a personal building block reinforcing the foundations of our community’s culture and identity. I hope you will add yours today.

If you haven’t already, learn more about the specifics of what the Heritage Walk will make possible for generations to come. On behalf of both organizations and their members, we deeply appreciate your time, support, and active participation in the living community that makes the Nittany Valley one of the world’s most special places.

If you have questions or inquiries, please contact

For the Future,


Chris Buchignani