The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and protecting for permanent public exhibition the nationally recognized Maxo Vanka murals within St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, enabling the immigrant artist’s “gift to America” to serve as an enduring catalyst for community engagement and education, inspire social and cultural dialogue, celebrate diversity, and forge connections through reflections on the extraordinary American experience.
It’s not just the story of one man’s journey to America; it’s the story of all of us. Maxo Vanka’s 25 powerful murals are one of Pittsburgh’s hidden gems. Painted in two intense periods – 1937 and 1941— in a church high above Millvale, the murals’ timeless tales leave viewers awestruck.
The Vanka Murals provide an immersive and unique context for learning about the intersection of history, art, and social justice, as well as the story of Pittsburgh and its place in history. There are points of connection throughout the Murals that can bring diverse communities and lived experiences together. Using the themes of love, justice, empathy, and community to engage visitors of all ages, they sustain their commitment towards a more empathetic and just society.
The Vanka Murals host programs and opportunities for a range of audiences including adults, students, teachers, nonprofit educators, and multigenerational audiences. Education Programs are all designed and implemented using a co-created “social justice framework” that centers and prioritizes equity, accessibility, and diverse perspectives.