Public art will be featured at new Kimberton Whole Foods

WYOMISSING — As Kimberton Whole Foods moves closer to the opening of its newest and largest store — scheduled for Oct. 31 — a special project has been completed.

A community mural has been installed at the new store at The Knitting Mills mixed-use development in Wyomissing — a partnership between Kimberton Whole Foods and the Albright College.

The mural was painted off-site at Albright’s Science Research Institute and installed at the store Oct. 1-3, under the direction of Mike Miller, artist in residence at Albright. Miller teaches a Public Art Workshop at the college and has been involved in the installation of more than 50 community art murals in the area. He said his specialty isn’t the painting itself, but getting as many people involved in the process as possible.

More than 100 community members put their brushes on the Kimberton Whole Foods piece.

A portion of the public art project mural that is part of the new Kimberton Whole Foods in Wyomissing, opening Oct. 31. The mural was facilitated by students from the Albright College Science and Research Center, and painted with the help of 100 community members. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KYRA DENLINGER, BELL MEDIA GROUP)

The mural holds a prominent spot in the store — mounted above the grocery and refrigerated sections — its bright colors easily seen by customers entering the store.

Covering about 375 square feet, the mural portrays a pastoral scene reflecting Kimberton Whole Foods’ commitment to sustainable agriculture and local producers, said Becca Settle, director of marketing for Kimberton.

The work was designed by local artist Megan McClellan, working with Miller and with input from representatives from Kimberton. McClellan has designed other public murals in the community.

When it was time to paint, the project included about 50 students from Reading School District’s 5th Grade Science Research Institute’s Academy at Albright; about 50 teachers from the Wyomissing School District who painted during a professional development seminar through the institute; and about 20 students and community volunteers who painted during open studio time at the Public Art Workshop.

Miller’s Public Art Workshop students at the college facilitated the painting sessions with the students.

KWF MURALStudents from the Public Art Workshop at Albright College facilitated the painting of a mural installed at the new Kimberton Whole Foods, opening this month in Wyomissing. Left to right are: Cary Shurtz, Claire Barone, Amijae Shells, and Mia Guyton. (PHOTO COURTESY ALBRIGHT COLLEGE)

How it came to be

The project began over the summer, when Kimberton Whole Foods reached out to Miller about the possibility of doing a mural. It’s not something Kimberton has done before, but according to Settle, after seeing the number of mural projects already installed in the community, it made sense to add one in Wyomissing.

“We made the initial connection and had Mike come out to the space,” Settle said. “At that point it was really using the architect’s renderings to visualize what the space would look like.”

As construction continued, Miller stopped by frequently to see the progress, to get a better idea of placement of the different focal points.

Miller said he and McClellan worked with Kimberton representatives on the concept and what they would like to see reflected in the mural.

“Then Meg came up with designs,” he said.

The first thing customers will see is this gorgeous cow, Settle said, that is based on cows from Seven Stars Farm, where Kimberton Whole Foods got started in 1986.

“It’s a nod to our beginnings,” she said. “The barn on the side of the mural is also inspired by some elements at Seven Stars Farm. And then the sunflowers represent our logo and to just be a playful element on the mural.”

KWF MURALMike Miller, artist in residence at Albright College touches up a mural installed at the Wyomissing Kimberton Whole Foods. The store opens Oct. 31. The mural was painted by students in Miller’s Public Art Workshop, Reading School District fifth graders, Wyomissing teachers and community members. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KYRA DENLINGER, BELL MEDIA GROUP)

Miller pointed out that the mural also includes a nod to the history of where the store is located — in the former Knitting Mills. At the bottom of the mural is a pattern that looks like a knit, which is also visible in the clouds, he explained.

Rather than being painted on the wall, the mural is painted on a material called polyester interfacing, which Miller describes as being almost the consistency of a drier sheet.

“There’s no weave to it, there’s no knit, so it doesn’t stretch. It kind of behaves like paper,” he said.

Miller added that the material was cut into 5-foot squares.

“You cut it like you would a canvas and then you draw and then paint on it,” he added.

More to come

While the interior mural is complete, there is more public art to be incorporated into the new Kimberton Whole Foods, Settle said.

The next phase is seven murals on the outside of the store. Along the Eighth Avenue side of the building are six windows that have been filled with concrete, and a seventh window that faces toward Penn Avenue.

“The outside will be a story of seasonal foods and pollinators,” Settle said.

Miller is coordinating that project as well, while McClellan is designing the concept and doing the illustration.

The exterior murals will not be completed before the store opens. Settle said the goal is to have some community and customer participation to help paint the murals.

“Perhaps at the grand opening or some other time later this fall so that it is truly community art,” she added.

When can the public see the piece?

The 13,000-square-foot Wyomissing Kimberton Whole Foods is scheduled to open Oct. 31, with a grand opening planned for Nov. 11-13. It will be the company’s seventh store in the region, and the second in Berks. Accessed from Eighth Avenue, one block from Penn Avenue, the store is next to Sly Fox Taphouse

Plans for the store were announced in September 2021. The store will employ 50 to 60 team members, and has openings for one full-time position and nine part-time positions.

In addition to the soon-to-open Wyomissing store, Kimberton Whole Foods has locations in Douglassville, Kimberton, Downingtown, Ottsville, Malvern and Collegeville.

 

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