The mother-daughter duo launched a contest in Nov. 2022 calling on local artists to submit an idea for a mural that could liven up the dining room. The owners were not looking for anything specific, but wanted Yellow Springs as well as Ha Ha’s history to be honored in the design.
Twenty local artists submitted entries and over 2,000 people voted for their favorite, McDonald said. She added that Chicarelli’s design was a clear winner with 49 percent of the votes.
Chicarelli recalled being tagged on social media in the contest post. She said it was nice to have people tag her and show their support just as she was pushing herself into doing more murals.
“This place is an absolute institution,” Chicarelli said. “All of my other priorities immediately dropped.”
Chicarelli, originally from England, has been in the United States for seven years and lives in Miamisburg. The moment she moved to the area, she said Yellow Springs held a special piece of her heart.
“I’ve been coming here for pizza after hikes for years,” Chicarelli said. “I absolutely have been wanting to get involved in Yellow Springs, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
She was inspired by psychedelic artists from the ‘60s, her own fluid, abstract canvas work and a scene from “A Goofy Movie“ involving the titular character pulling the pizza and cheese drips.
Chicarelli’s passion for art has been seen elsewhere in the Dayton area. She was one of the lead mural artists for “Twilight,” located on the south side of the Printpoint Printing building at 150 S. Patterson Blvd.
“I just want to make people smile with my art,” Chicarelli said.
The McDonalds are approaching their one-year anniversary of owning Ha Ha Pizza at the end of June. They purchased the restaurant from B.J. Walters, who had been part of the restaurant for 25 years.
Ha Ha Pizza is open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit the shop’s Facebook page.