If you’ve driven along Carman Avenue this month, or recently paid a visit to Salisbury’s community square — the sight of the region’s annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting — then you may have noticed a new, colorful addition to the area. A blue, ocean-themed mural painted by a local East Meadow Girl Scout troop, depicting underwater life, complete with sea animals, buried treasure and ocean plants, now rests on the side wall of Carvel on 801 Carman Avenue.
The mural, painted by six girls from Troop 1640, under the guidance of Suffolk-based professional artist Jeannie Santomauro Schnupp, comprises a wide array of marine life above the ocean floor, including tropical fish, seahorses, crabs, starfish, jellyfish, turtles and whales. The project was completed in early September, over the course of just a few days.
The Senior Girl Scouts are Katie Infante, Nicole Hallett, Allison Astudillo, Marissa Flaherty, Juliet Rafanelli and Alexandra Michaelis, who are all 15-year-old sophomores at W.T. Clarke High School. Already aspiring to earn their Gold Award — the highest ranking a Girl Scout can achieve —the group needed to complete a community project first to begin the process.
Earlier this year, co-Troop Leader Denise Michaelis, Alexandra’s mother, met Schnupp while working on a separate art project with a Troop 1081, a younger Girl Scout Troop in which her other daughter Isabella is a member of. At the time, Schnupps informed Michaelis that she was interested in undertaking a bigger art project — specifically, a mural — with older girls.
Intrigued, Michaelis relayed the proposal to Troop 1640. Stephanie Ann Rafanelli, the troop’s other leader, said the girls were excited by the idea. “They all have a creative side,” Rafanelli said.
The girls have been active members of the community since their early days as scouts, said Rafanelli. They were all members of the Kiwanis Kids Club, are current members of W.T. Clarke’s Key Club, and all play music and sports. And though their art experience is limited to what they’ve learned in school, Rafanelli said the girls were ready for the challenge.