Raise the Song

This new public artwork is an ‘Easter egg’ for Penn Staters who know the words.

public art mural

The newest mural in downtown State College doesn’t look like an homage to Penn State, but it is: Artist William Snyder III ’03, ’06 MFA A&A created the abstract art piece as a series of symbols that, when deciphered, translate to the lyrics of “The Penn State Alma Mater.”

Located on the side of the Alexander Court building on the corner of Beaver Avenue and Locust Lane, the 16-foot-by-40-foot mural depicts Fred Lewis Pattee’s original 1901 version of the song. Snyder used a palette of retro colors approved by the building owner’s interior design firm to complement the interior’s mid-century modern aesthetic. “I made it a game for myself to use limited shapes with the retro design style,” Snyder says. “And some of the symbols guide you to what the word is. ‘Future’ looks like a mountain with a sunset. ‘Waiting’ almost looks like a pause button.”

Snyder has other murals around town, including the colorful Wild Geese outside Webster’s Bookstore Café on Beaver Avenue, and We Are All One on the side of The Graduate Hotel on Atherton Street. “It’s an honor to have work of that size and impact in a community where I spent 20 years,” says Snyder, who moved to Broadway, Va., last year. “I’m always going to be a part of State College, whether there physically or not.”

alma mater translation key