By Molly Daly

By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program hosted a community paint day Saturday at its studio in the Gallery Shopping Mall.

It was a chance for the public to pitch in and paint panels of a mural that will grace the zoo’s new parking garage at 35th and Girard. The mural will face commuters who ride the SEPTA-Amtrak lines.

Artist Eurhi Jones, who’s especially interested in wildlife and environmental themes, says it’ll feature some of the zoo’s superstar species like orangutans, gorillas, giraffes and penguins, with a helping of whimsy:

“The Victoria Crown Pigeon is a very nice blue, and taking a little license, making some blue giant otters, and some red kangaroos,” she said.

Poison Dart Frog panel (Credit: Molly Daly)

Poison Dart Frog panel (Credit: Molly Daly)

The project does more than brighten what would otherwise be a drab wall. It employs ten men recently released from prison, teaching them work skills, and offering job counseling.

“It’s keeping me out of trouble, it’s giving back to the community,” 19-year-old Keith Davis said. “Coming from my situation, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Marie-Jeanne Dilks came from Media, Pa. to do her part:

“This is a wonderful one for the zoo. It’s going to be beautiful.”

She says the work doesn’t require much skill, yet it yields great rewards.

“You don’t have to be an artist to do this, and you participate in something that’s worthwhile for the community. I love it.”

This was the only public painting day, but visitors can still stop by the studio in the southeast corner on the Gallery’s second floor to watch as the creatures on the mural’s panels are brought to colorful life.

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