Emily Ekross initiated the Baldwinsville 4 Corners Mural Project in 2011, during her junior year at Baker High School. The public art initiative, completed in August 2013, would serve as Emily’s Girl Scout Gold Award project—the highest rank in Girl Scouts. The concept for the mural design came from Emily’s mother and troop leader, Michelle, a local artist who had considered painting the mural on the southwest corner of Oswego and East Genesee Streets when she was a girl scout growing up in Baldwinsville. After the town board approved the mural proposal, Emily began a fundraising campaign that ultimately yielded $7,500 and several cans of paint in donations. When lead was found in the paint of an earlier, faded mural on the site, a contractor certified to remove lead paint was hired, which doubled the cost of the mural. This obstacle was overcome with generous contributions from the community.
Over the course of two years, Emily and Michelle were joined by Remo Bianco (Michelle’s father and Emily’s grandfather), and other enthusiastic members of the greater Baldwinsville community, as well as interested tourists and passers-by, who volunteered to apply primer, stencil the composition’s historical Baldwinsville images, and paint in the details. In restoring the wall, Emily and her team hoped to boost B’Villians’ pride in the village. By all accounts, their efforts have been entirely successful.
Emily Ekross, Baldwinsville 4 Corners Mural Project Coordinator
Emily was born and raised in Baldwinsville, and joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten. She has always taken a keen interest in her community. Even as a small child she lamented the condition of the previous 4 Corners mural, which she passed every day en route to school. Emily was excited to take on the mural project, because she believed that it would have a positive effect on the community for many decades to come. In 2013, Emily graduated 6th in her class from Baker High School, where she received high honors. That fall she matriculated at D’Youville College in Buffalo, and gained early assurance into the Doctor of Pharmacy program.
Michelle Ekross, Baldwinsville 4 Corner Mural Project Concept Artist
Michelle was born and raised in Baldwinsville, where she became interested in art at a young age. In 1987 she considered re-doing the first mural, which was done in 1974 by the Baldwinsville Art Guild, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. However, Boy Scout Willie Barnes got a jump on the venture. Michelle received a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and an M.A.T. in Art Education from SUNY Oswego. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, and has been a troop leader for over 25 years.
Remo Bianco, Baldwinsville 4 Corners Mural Artist
Remo was born in the Capital District, and grew up in Rensselaer County’s East Greenbush. Remo worked as a technical writer and marketing and communications specialist for Carrier Air Conditioning before becoming an independent consultant of technical services for industry and commerce.
Attracted to the area by the quality, affordable school district, Remo built a house in Baldwinsville’s Village Green community in 1968. His daughter, Michelle, now lives in the Village Green house, and Remo lives a stone’s throw from the nearby Seneca River, where he can hop in his kayak after a short four minute walk to the boat ramp. Remo enjoys paddling on Crooked Brook and going through Lock 24. He also has a deep interest in railroad and train history, and often brings his father’s toy Lionel trains from 1917 to elementary school show-and-tells.