Film Producer Paints Motivational Message on Underpass

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Jesse Reed, a producer of the 2021 film “Youngstown,” was back in the Mahoning Valley on Thursday with another project inspired by his hometown.

The 2005 Liberty High School graduate, who described a “cheeky” love letter to the city, painted a motivational messages that read “You Can You Will” and “You Have You Did” on the walls of the underpass beneath the Spring Commons Bridge near downtown.

He came up with a little over a year ago, he recalled.

“I wanted to sketch [the message] on the side of a building [or public structure],” he said. After taking the idea to Nick Chretien, director of Economic Action Group, he sought approval from city officials.

The project was approved last year, and the specific site in the underpass was approved a few months ago.

“It’s just a motivational message for the people of Youngstown,” he said.

Motorists heading into or out of downtown will be able to see the messages, which are painted in 14-foot letters on both sides of the city-owned underpass.

Helping him was Patrick McGlone, owner of Overall Paint Co. of Youngstown, which specializes in murals. McGlone has painted several high-profile murals, including ones at Southern Park Mall.

McGlone said when he heard about Reed’s plans, he contacted him and offered to help paint it.

“I was like, thank God, because I had no idea how to paint it,” Reed said. “I just designed it.”

McGlone and Reed were on the site Thursday morning to finish up the job, which they started Wednesday.

McGlone used a projection technique to paint the outline of the words on the wall, which were then painted in black on the white background.

The message also has a very subtle link to the “Youngstown” film.

“I used the same typeface for the letters that we used in the film,” Reed said.

The offbeat film was shot entirely in Youngstown and with local actors, with the exception of the two leads, who are professionals. Reed encouraged his friend Pete Ohs, who directed the film, to make it here, touting the city’s individuality and charm.

“Youngstown” premiered at Movies 8 in Boardman in October and played at film festivals and theaters in other cities. It was met with a positive reaction at film festivals in Tacoma, Wash., and Boise, Idaho, Reed said, and is still available to rent on Amazon.

“They really loved it in Tacoma,” he said. “They related to it.”

Ohs, who is now based in Los Angeles, released his latest movie, “Jethica,” earlier this year.

Pictured: Jesse Reed completed his mural on the walls of an underpass near downtown Youngstown on Thursday.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.