Artistic youth from three local schools spent over 54 hours learning painting and other artistic techniques while creating and painting a room-size mural for the youth group room of the Tamaqua Salvation Army.

Mural coordinator Samantha Heck, who is majoring in the fine arts and art therapy at Kutztown University, thought of the idea while talking with Dina Depos, programs director at the local Salvation Army.

Depos and Heck decided to give local youth with artistic interests the opportunity to create their own special masterpiece. Portions of the mural consisted of abstract art, Noah's Ark, animals, swirl art, 3-D art, a globe and ocean.

For the abstract art, the youngsters were encouraged to throw paint on the walls with paint brushes and spoons.

Their freehand mural, which completely surrounds three sides of the room, incorporates togetherness, peace, individuality and religion.

The children, up to ninth grade, were students from Marian, Tamaqua and St. Jerome's. They spent two weeks designing, brainstorming and preparing the mural prior to their four weeks of painting.

Heck, who plans on helping people via art therapy, gave credit for her artistic motivation and her drive for teaching young people to past art teachers.

"It was a bit intimidating at first," Heck said, "but working with these talented kids made it easier."

She also pointed out that this project makes the kids feel like it is a room of their own.

Some forms of painting methods taught by Heck and Depos consisted of color spectrum, abstract, 3-D, splatter, layering, blending, dry brush, shadowing and more.

Salvation Army boot camp kids also participated in the mural by hand-printing the world.

"I gave the kids free reign to decide what they wanted to create," Heck said.

"I hope the kids that come in here everyday will enjoy the colorful mural," said Jacob Gursky, 14, one of the young artists.

Gurksy, who is also a sculptor and time-lapse video artist, pointed out that people can view the progress of the mural by visiting his YouTube channel of "animatorman5000."

"It is a pretty piece of artwork that makes everybody happy," said artist Annette Ritzko, 15.

Tamaqua Salvation Army Major Sharon Whispell expressed her appreciation to M & S Hardware for donating paint for the colorful project.

"An artist sees the world differently," said Heck, pointing out the young artists' attention to detail and the mindset required to physically express their infinite imaginations.