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Winston-Salem artist explains how the Sprague Street Community Center mural was created

The process to create the piece took just over a year. It features portraits of people who use the community center.


The mural is located at 1350 E. Sprague St.

Photo by WStoday

A new mural in Winston-Salem showcases the faces of 37 neighbors. City Editor Cambridge spoke to the artist about how the piece on the side of Sprague Street Community Center was created — and how it’s making people who live in the neighborhood feel recognized.

The idea

Marianne DiNapoli-Mylet has worked with children to create seven murals in the city. One, in the Washington Park neighborhood on Acadia Street, featured their self-portraits. After it was painted over in 2022, a resident of the neighborhood approached DiNapoli-Mylet about recreating the artwork close to the original one — and the idea for the mural was born.

She submitted a proposal outlining the project in October 2022 through the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission. Once the plan was approved, she began looking for participants to take part.

Parents of children who use the Sprague Street Community Center during the summer agreed to let some of them participate. Senior citizens who visit the rec center regularly also agreed to be featured.


Primary colors make each portrait pop.

Photo by WStoday

The mural

DiNapoli-Mylet started painting the portraits on fabric known as parachute paper in her studio in July. Once she was done with all 37 of them she used a gel medium to apply the portraits to the wall. That process took her about six weeks. The material is made to last and can withstand weather conditions.

DiNapoli-Mylet unveiled the artwork in November, with some of the people in the mural present for the debut. She says the excitement was what made the project special.

“This woman came out and said to me ‘you know, I’ve seen myself in the mirror hanging on the wall but I never thought I’d see my portrait painted on a wall,’” DiNapoli-Mylet said. “That’s the best part of doing this is the feedback — people getting excited about something in their neighborhood that they can relate to that’s artistic — it’s pretty amazing.”