The most recent U.S. Census revealed that 33 percent of Lancaster City residents self-identify as Hispanic/Latino – the largest concentration in Lancaster County. To encourage cultural outreach and expansion into the community, the University announces the Millersville University – Lancaster Community Mural Project, which kicks off February 3.

During her stay as artist-in-residence at Millersville, Michelle Angela Ortiz, artist, arts educator and muralist, will collaborate with Millersville University art and sociology students, as well as members of the Latino community in Lancaster City for this project, culminating in the creation of two murals.

Michelle Angela Ortiz

Ortiz will work with students enrolled in Dr. Christine Filippone’s contemporary art course and students in Dr. Kimberly Mahaffy’s African American and Latino educational experiences course, to be held at Millersville during spring 2011 semester.

“A primary objective of this project is collaboration and community engagement for Millersville’s often culturally isolated student population and members of the Latino community,” explains Filippone, assistant professor of art history. “The sharing of stories and personal interaction between these participating groups is intended to broaden cultural as well as generational perspectives of all involved.”

One of the digitally produced murals will be displayed on Millersville University’s campus, celebrating contributions of Latino students to the University. The second mural will be on display in Lancaster City, celebrating the contributions and cultural experiences of Latino community members in the city of Lancaster.

“This project inaugurates the development of a much stronger relationship between the University and Latino communities in Lancaster,” said Mahaffy, associate professor of sociology and director of Latino/a Studies.

Filippone and Mahaffy have raised more than $5,000 for this project and continue to seek donations of materials, service and financial support from local businesses and companies including art supply stores and advertising agencies.

For more information on how to contribute, or about the Millersville University – Lancaster Community Mural Project, contact Filippone by email, at or by phone, at 717-872-3912 or contact Mahaffy by email, at, or by phone, at 717-871-2344.

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