La Bella’s Star-Spangled Mural in Progress

A new mural will replace the graffiti on the side of La Bella’s Pizza Bistro, according to village officials.

On Sept. 30, 2018, New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for a new mural, an American flag. 

The idea originally came from La Bella Pizza Bistro owner Maria Lisanti. Lisanti commented during one of the Mayors visits that she was tired of seeing graffiti on the side of her restaurants wall. 

Lisanti had the idea of creating a mural to paint over the wall, and thought the piece would deter people from further tagging the wall. 

“He said that he thought it was a great idea, and that he loved it and would approve whatever was necessary,” said Lisanti.

Lisanti continued, elaborating on how she and Rogers decided on raising funds. 

“He mentioned that maybe we should make it a community event instead of me asking for donations so he decided that a GoFundMe page would be the best idea.”

As for the murals design, Lisanti has set her eyes on designing an American flag. While this has garnered a positive response from most residents, controversy has sparked over a few concerned community members who disagree with the design.

Lisanti wants to clear the air about the meaning behind the mural, stressing that it is nothing political. 

“I just think it [an American flag] would look beautiful on that wall. Because its big and blowing in the wind, I just thought that it would look lovely. I didn’t wanna do butterflies, or lilies or flowers or rainbows I wanted it to be something really great.” Lisanti said.

Lisanti continued, “I think that people’s opinions now are very strong because of things that’ve happened around us and so people feel differently about it, whereas back in the day the flag meant what it meant and you kinda stood true to it.”

Other residents, however, have more personal attachments ties towards the meaning of the American flag, and have contributed to the GoFundMe because of this.

New Paltz resident and Navy veteran Bruce Hill was one resident who donated towards towards to campaign for these very reasons. 

“I lived here about 14 years and I would say that the town of New Paltz and the village of New Paltz are not extremely patriotic in any way, and I just think it could use a little boost like that,” Hill said. 

Hill continued, giving insight into his perspective being a US veteran.

“The fact that I’ve served in the military certainly puts me in a position where I feel more pride in my country, and I’ve fought for what that flag represents,” Hill said. “I just think this would be a nice addition to the town.”

As for the artist, Lisanti has commissioned a local New Paltz resident to paint the piece. The artist will currently remain anonymous until the piece is revealed.

That isn’t all, Lisanti also plans an appreciation walk to celebrate the flag and raise more funds. It will be held on Sunday, Oct. 21. 

The walk will begin at La Bella Pizza Bistro and go down both sides of Main Street, then down the middle of Main St, finally ending back at La Bella for refreshments.

Currently the murals GoFundMe page has raised over $3,770 out of it’s $8,000 goal. It has been raised by 55 people in only 16 days. 

“It has raised quite a lot and I’m continuing to raise more money because the project has officially begun. Today I witnessed the layout of it, I have a drawing of it and I have an artist statement that I’m going to add to the GoFundMe, overall I’m very excited,” Lisanti said.