YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Colorful murals of iconic Yorktown spots have taken over the walls and stairwells of Jefferson Valley Mall.

Brightly painted scenes of FDR Park, Hilltop Hanover Farm and Coldwell Banker are the newest eye-catching piece of the mall’s overall plan to transform the space from a mall to a community gathering spot.

Under the management of Washington Prime Group, the mall has added activities, events and programming to draw people in beyond its shopping offerings. 

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“We do free programs here almost every single day. There’s something that the community can come in and take a part of,” said Heather Novak, the Jefferson Valley Mall marketing director. “We really want to encourage people to get out of their houses. Get out of your home, put your phones down, put your computers down. Come here to learn something new, to connect with your neighbor, to try something out, to have fun. There’s programs literally across the board.” 

Ally Muller, artist and owner of Dogwood Event Design, has been overseeing the mural projects for about two years along with Alexa O’Rourke, the mall’s general manager.

“One of the fun things that we’re doing is when a store would close, they would put up barricades, and normally they get a plastic vinyl that says ‘something new is coming’,” said Muller. “Rather than there being this ‘down’ feeling of an empty storefront, we’re trying to replace that with a more vibrant, fun and silly piece.”

So Muller painted a cow saying “something is mooooving in” and a field of sunflowers.

Last holiday season, along with the annual visit from Santa, the mall installed a new winter mural and giant cocoa cup to take pictures with. The mall also held a raffle for anyone who posted the picture along with a hashtag promoting the event. 

Muller is currently preparing for the fall and winter seasons, working with the social media department to create more of these “Instagrammable opportunities.”

“Alexa has been trying to move in a different direction to make this more of a community center, taking away the bland, gray, monotone colors, making it more fun and kid-friendly,” Muller said. “It’s cool because we get to see and experience it. This is my neighborhood. I get to come here and see people are enjoying it, people are taking photos in front of it. It’s a nice feeling to know that we’re helping out.”