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  • Writer's pictureMarshall Okin

In the NEWS: Trumbull-based Make-A-Wish Connecticut hopes new murals bring joy to Corporate Park

By Shaniece Holmes-Brown,Staff WriterMay 13, 2024

TRUMBULL — A new mural painted in bright hues of blue and covered in stars welcomes families who visit Make-A-Wish Connecticut, also nicknamed "The Wishing Place."

A "Wishing Place" is a space for children to enjoy themselves and is a safe haven for current and past families of the organization who need support. Not every Make-A-Wish has one, but Trumbull's is one of the select few that does.

Make-A-Wish President and CEO Pam Keough said she's hoping the mural — which is painted on the side of a shed on the organization's property — and another one planned for a local underpass will help bring attention to the Trumbull program.

"Make-A-Wish has been in Trumbull for most of our 38-year history. But many people don’t know that we are even in Connecticut or that we’ve been in Trumbull for this long." Keough said. "We want to give back because the town and community has been great to us when we had times of need, especially in volunteering. The world needs a little hope right now and that's why the murals are designed to be really bright, uplifting and cheerful."

The two muralists who were contracted to paint the mural describe it as a "feel good" project. 

"Pam Keough came to us and said 'We want something welcoming to people visiting the Wishing Place,' " said Rebecca Pry, professional illustrator and muralist. "The stars are a really big part of the Wishing Place, so we wanted to create a really eye-catching design that people could take pictures in front of and it could just be a really, energetic, fun and welcoming area for people coming to visit."

Pry, 33, and her business partner Marshall Okin, 43, spent all of April 29 painting the mural. Now, the two will create another mural for Make-A-Wish on a bare, rusted concrete wall on an underpass less than half a mile away on Merritt Boulevard.

"The underpass mural could really be any theme but Keough said she wanted some sort of messaging within it, so we took the word 'hope' as a message that goes along with Make-A-Wish," Pry said. " 'Hope' is the main theme of the mural and there's going to be some really pretty graphics around it. It's definitely more creative."

Director of Economic and Community Development Rina Bakalar said the underpass mural is one of the projects intended to beautify Trumbull's Corporate Park.

"I proposed the mural to Make-A-Wish because, when they established their Connecticut headquarters in our Trumbull Corporate Park, they wanted to see if there was a way to make the area more visible," she said. "We don’t have any major signage you could see from the highway that says 'Make-A-Wish' or who our other tenants are because of the way the Corporate Park is positioned. So they were looking for opportunities to kind of draw attention to the area."

Keough and Bakalar both said the murals are meant to bring more color, positivity and visibility to the area and the hope is for it to be a more welcoming spot for visitors and employees who work there.

"We love working with the organization because the people here are fantastic, so I’d say that’s the best part of it," Okin said. "Everyone is so accommodating and their heart is in the right place. Both projects specifically mean to send a public message, but also it fits the environment of where they are. It was a big component when we were designing."

Bakalar said the mural for the underpass cannot begin until approvals from the state Department of Transportation are finalized.

"We’re not quite sure how long the permit process is and we’re also in the process of getting all of that," she said. "I think it will be up by the summer. The DOT has been excellent in working with us and getting us all the specifications required for the project."

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