The new mural in the amphitheater beside the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center uses symbolism and a painting technique called pointillism to celebrate “the diversity of people and cultures on this campus,” said senior Kerrigan Boyd, moderator of Citizens of the World House.
The mural was painted the weekend of Oct. 24 and was a collaborative effort between the Student Led Art Movement and Citizens of the World House, who brought in artist and muralist Jacque Fragua to help with the project.
Fragua is a Native American artist who works for Honor The Treaties, which is an organization that uses art and advocacy to amplify the voices of indigenous communities, according to their website.
Boyd said Fragua visited campus last semester to speak about his use of art as a tool for activism. She and her housemates were inspired by his speech, so Boyd reached out to the president of SLAM, senior (not sure about this…) Catie Beach.
“Catie actually said she had been wanting to do a mural too, so it was just kind of a series of perfect events that aligned very well,” Boyd said.
Boyd and Beach won October’s You Are OWU award for their work on the mural.
WCSA provided the funds for the project, and Boyd said they were “really supportive and generous.”
Boyd said there were a lot of administrative levels the project had to be approved on, but the process would have been much more challenging at a bigger school.
“Craig Ullom (Vice President of Student Affairs) and Sally Leber (Director of Service Learning) really championed the project and took it to the proper levels to where it needed to be,” Boyd said.
She said the amphitheater was chosen as the mural’s location because it was unutilized and the subject of the mural was based off Fragua’s work, which is focused on social justice.
“We know that’s broad, but it’s also a theme I think really unites us on campus, so we wanted the mural to be an expression of that,” Boyd said.
Both artistic and non-artistic students were invited to contribute to the mural and Boyd said she was “blown away” by how many people participated.
“I went to class on Friday until 1 and I came back and there was already so much on the wall,” Boyd said. “I think it really speaks to the inclusivity of the theme.”
The mural was painted in the style of pointillism, which Boyd said doesn’t require extensive knowledge of painting, but makes for beautiful art.
Freshman Ellen Sizer, a member of SLAM, said pointillism is a painting technique that uses small dots of colors in a pattern to create an overall image and is an offshoot of impressionism.
“I think it was genius because people who aren’t as artistically gifted can still contribute and the mural can look rad,” Sizer said.
Sizer compared the effect of pointillism to a city landscape, saying the view from far away is very different from the view up close.
“I was afraid that I’d screw it (the mural) up, but I did contribute a little bit,” Sizer said. “It was fun to just watch the process more than anything.”
Boyd said she is happy with how the mural turned out and wants to thank everyone who contributed.
One of her favorite aspects of the mural is its symbolism.
“He (Fragua) based it loosely on indigenous bead work,” Boyd said. “The metaphor for each bead is that each piece stands alone but comes together to make something beautiful and united as a whole.”