Educational Programs

Visit the awe-inspiring and thought-provoking murals of Maxo Vanka with your middle school or high school students at St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church! Students participate in facilitated discussion led by our skilled educators to explore how the artist’s life story and the experiences of working-class people and immigrants influenced his painting of these murals in 1937 and 1941. Through creative hands-on activities, students will also reflect on the relevance of the mural’s themes of love, justice, and injustice to their own lives and our society today.

Maxo Vanka’s murals provide a great platform for learning. Contact us about lessons in the immigrant experience, social justice, art, and more.

Tours for school groups must be arranged in advance. Please complete the form below.

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Tour Information

Know Before You Go
  • Masks are not required at this time, but the Vanka Murals strongly encourages visitors to join its staff and volunteers in being fully vaccinated prior to visiting.
  • St. Nicholas is an active church. School programs may be delayed or cancelled due to church activities, and we will contact you in advance if this occurs. Mural viewing is not possible during regularly schedule weekly mass services.
  • Questions? Contact us at tours@vankamurals.org
Getting here

St. Nicholas is located at 24 Maryland Ave, Millvale, PA 15209

Driving & Parking: Follow the directions via Google Maps.

Tour participants can park in the St. Nicholas Convent parking lot, located across the street from the church. Parking is also available for buses in this lot.

Walking: A sidewalk with curb cuts runs up Maryland Ave to the church. The accessible building entrance is located on the Rectory (south) side of the church. If walking from Lawrenceville, the church can be reached via a short, picturesque walk across the 40th Street Bridge or the Millvale Riverfront Trail.

Accessibility

SPMMMV welcomes all visitors and strives to provide the best possible experience for everyone.

Accessible parking spaces are clearly marked and available in the church-side parking area with direct access to the accessibility ramp entrance on the east side of St. Nicholas between the Church and the Rectory. The ramp location is clearly indicated on the Church building.

Please note that the restrooms are only accessible via stairs, so there is no accessible restroom at the church.

If you have questions about accessibility that are not addressed below, please contact us at 412-408-3180 or by email at info@vankamurals.org

Frequently asked questions

When can the murals be viewed by the public?

Public tours, led by docents, are held on Saturdays at 11:00 am and 12:30pm. Private tours at other times are by appointment only. A minimum of eight people or a donation of $120 is required. Due to church schedule, private tours are not available after 3:00 pm on Saturday or before 12:30 pm on Wednesday.

For advance reservation (including pre-payment of admission fee) and private tour requests email us at tours@vankamurals.org.

What about mural viewing during church?

Please remember that St. Nicholas is an active parish. Mural viewing is NOT allowed during regularly scheduled Mass, 5:00pm Saturday and 8:30am Wednesday, or during other church-related activities.

When should we arrive?

Please try to arrive at least 10 minutes ahead of the tour start time. If you arrive late, you may join a tour in progress or wait for the next one. The $10 admission is still required.

Who leads the tours?

Trained volunteers serve as docents. We recruit volunteers with diverse experiences, expertise and interests. A passion for the Vanka Murals and desire to tell their story is the primary qualification.

How long is the tour?

Tours are approximately 60 minutes. Docents are happy to answer questions during and after the tour.

What’s the cost of a tour?

Tours are $15 per person. Admission fees and merchandise make it possible for SPMMMV to save and share the Vanka Murals. They are also essential to our mission to provide access to the murals for the general public. Donations over and above admission are fully tax deductible. If a donation receipt for any amount about $75 (not including admission) is desired, we recommend that you make an online donation or pay by a check payable to: SPMMMV.

Is there on-site parking?

Yes. Please follow directional signage upon arrival. Parking is available in the convent parking lot (15 Maryland Ave) across from the church. If your group is arriving by tour bus, email us for instructions: tours@vankamurals.org.

Please note: Exit from church-side parking lot is behind the Rectory building with right turn up Maryland Avenue and left turn left on Logan Street or down to Sheridan Avenue.

Caution: The traffic coming down Logan Street (to the right next to the entrance to the church) does not stop and may be making a sharp left onto Maryland.

Other Parking:  

  • Accessible parking spaces are clearly marked and available in the church-side parking area with direct access to the accessibility ramp entrance on the east side of St. Nicholas between the Church and the Rectory. The ramp location is clearly indicated on the Church building.
  • Street parking can be found in Millvale if lots are full.
May we photograph/video the murals?

Flash photography is not permitted. However, photography for personal use is allowed. Any other photography must be approved by SPMMMV. For more information, please contact Anna Doering, Managing Director, at: adoering@vankamurals.org or leave a message: 412.408.3180.

We request that any posts to publicly accessible websites or blogs include a link back to our website – www.vankamurals.org – to assist us in our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and support for the murals. And if you are sharing to social media, please include hashtag #SaveMaxoVanka. We also welcome submissions for inclusion on our website at: info@vankamurals.org.

Is the tour suitable for children?

The tour is recommended for children who are capable of paying quiet attention to a presentation of up to one hour and can appreciate the solemnity of their setting. Ask your docent or greeter for children’s activities for use during the tour including noticing cards, scavenger hunts and other educational resources. Additionally, visit our tours page to learn more about school visits and field trips.

More questions? tours@vankamurals.org

Shrines of Pittsburgh

Shrines of Pittsburgh

In 2019, St. Nicholas was named as one of the Shrines of Pittsburgh.

The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka is an independent and registered 501 (c)(3) organization. Contributions are fully tax deductible.
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