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Hills Plaza McDonald’s Enjoys One Last Art Exhibit Before Demolition

by and on March 15, 2014 3:45 PM

The McDonald’s in Hills Plaza will be demolished at the end of March to make way for a new, modern McDonald’s that will open in June.

Boalsburg artist Harriet Rosenberg, a McDonald’s fan and one of the restaurants’ regular patrons, says she will miss the current building.

She decided to add beauty to its last weeks by installing her third and final exhibit in the restaurant’s large display cases.

“I like this venue,” she says. “It’s perfect.”

The exhibit features Rosenberg’s paper cuts and photographs, and Native American art and jewelry. The photographs are colorful images of Victor’s Cuban Restaurant in southwest Minneapolis. Her paper cuts include pictorial designs and a quote. 

Images of transformation are depicted in the reproduction print by Ojibwa artist Roy Thomas, “Better Than Myself from Yesterday.” A rattle created by another Ojibwa artist, Eric Guest, has a deer antler on one end, a hand constructed from deer hide on the other end, and turquois insets.

Altoona resident Will Espey, a Six Nation Mohawk, created the Native American bracelets, earrings, and necklaces on display using bone, glass beads, and magnetic beads. Like Rosenberg, he is a member of the Bellefonte Art Museum’s Artist Registry. Espey currently has several paintings on display at the museum.

The McDonald’s show also includes two colorful acrylic paintings of native masks by Pennsylvania artist Robert Stem, who is not a Native American.

”I must be a populist artist,” Rosenberg says. “That’s why I like the stuff to be here. Putting on these displays is really fun for me.”

One anonymous viewer responded to the exhibit by tucking a small pine tree shaped from a napkin behind the locking mechanism of one case. Rosenberg was delighted.

She is interested in learning about which part of the population actually notices the exhibit.

“I’m so curious about how people can miss looking at this,” she says.

Reflecting on the role that the Hills Plaza McDonald’s has in the community, Rosenberg said: “This is a meeting place that serves a real purpose.”

She says several coffee cliques meet there. In the morning, a men’s group and a mixed group of men and women meet. The mixed group has parties for Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. Another men’s group meets in the afternoon.

Rosenberg hosted her own drop-in coffee party there to show friends the cut paper valentines she was making. Patrons had the opportunity to meet new people.

“I like their coffee,” Rosenberg says. “A lot of people here are seniors and come for the coffee. It’s affordable. McDonald’s is a place for people who wouldn’t normally go to Zenos. You have a real cross-section.”

The Hills Plaza McDonald’s will close at 10 p.m. on March 23. The employees will be relocated to other McDonald’s near the Nittany Mall until the new restaurant opens in June.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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