'Kindness is Cool': North Hills mural encourages passerby to remember the smile behind the mask

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mural on an outside wall of the Happy & Hale restaurant in North Hills caught the eyes of many as they walked to and from a block party in North Hills.

Bold red letters on a stark white background declared: Kindness is cool.

Artist Jon Leonardo said, "The whole idea behind this is there are smiles behind all the masks, right? Kindness is free, it's something anyone can do. And we thought art was a really great way to get out that message."

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Leonardo's mural is supported by the restaurant, North Hills and Verizon. That company's representative said Raleigh is a smart choice for an art installation like this.

"Small town community. We wanted something that would be impactful for a town like this," said Verizon representative Allison Stevens.

Leonardo said he fell in love with North Carolina, and Raleigh in particular, while attending school at Elon University.

"Five years ago, work took me out to Los Angeles," he said. "So it's been so fun to come back here, in Raleigh, to actually paint something and have something in the city."

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Leonardo said he hopes the mural remains for as long as possible.

"And then people can enjoy it," he added.

The mural can be viewed on the outside wall of Happy & Hale, 200 Park at North Hills Street #101.
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