Who should be on the wall?

As artist Michael Pilato completes his work on the Inspiration Mural in downtown Pittston, the debate continues on the topic of who should be included in the spectacular 5-story masterpiece.
To me, those who belong on that wall fall into one of two categories.
The first includes all the folks who are in the mural. If they are there, they belong. They belong because, true to the mural’s name, they inspired someone, either the person (or people) who nominated them, or the artist, himself, who decided to include them.
Nominees were sought for several weeks, and while not everyone who was nominated was included (there were only about 40 “slots” available), all those nominated were all deserving and all carefully considered.
But the artist has added, without additional compensation, some 20 others.
A few were personal: his co-artist Yuri, who worked on the mural; fellow artist Dwight Kirkland, who painted the Heritage Mural, just a block away on Main Street, and then tragically passed away; his daughter Skye, who died just a year ago.
Others, particularly the local heroes he added after the dedication, were people whom he learned about while working in Pittston and interacting with folks who stopped by to watch him work and from whom he drew additional inspiration.
The “heroes” section was added by Pilato as his annual Sept. 11 observation. Each year, on the anniversary of the tragic events in New York City in 2001, he paints for 48 straight hours. This year he did that on Main Street.
The second category of those who belong in the mural includes all the people you think should be there.
I mean that sincerely.
If you think someone who is not in the mural should be, you are right.
There are hundreds if not thousands of Greater Pittstonians who’ve led inspirational lives, enough to cover every wall of every building in town if that were possible.
Oh, that it were.
But because of the mural, at least we are thinking of them, and therefore honoring them too.
At the dedication, Pilato said he was pleased to hear people talking about who “should” be included. He said it meant the mural got people thinking and talking. And isn’t that what art is all about?

Ed Ackerman