Students Create New Mural in the YU

The newest addi­tion to the YU atrium is a nature mural cre­ated by Autumn Gray and Dar­rin Stew­art. This mural was fin­ished and inducted into the YU the first week of Sep­tem­ber. It is located in the YU by the pool table, directly above the couches that are fac­ing the Holden and Barstow build­ings. The mural was cre­ated due to a Sum­mer Under­grad­u­ate Research and Cre­ative Activ­i­ties Grant that Autumn and Dar­rin were selected for. This grant enabled them to paint a mural that would epit­o­mize the stu­dents and fac­ulty of this university.

The nature theme was decided by a sur­vey of the UWS stu­dents, con­cern­ing what they wanted it to resem­ble. When sur­veyed, the major­ity of indi­vid­u­als asked that the mural incor­po­rate the nat­ural ele­ments of the Twin Ports area, and this goal seemed to have been achieved. The mural is a com­bi­na­tion of many aspects of the Superior/Duluth area, high­light­ing the true beauty of this com­mu­nity that some of us call home. Such nat­ural ele­ments exhib­ited include a for­est with Lake Supe­rior run­ning through it, a light­house over­look­ing every­thing, a bridge over the lake, and a boat on the shore. The main con­cern that Autumn and Dar­rin had while cre­at­ing the mural how­ever, was to ensure that the gen­eral struc­ture and design of the mural was broad, to avoid exclud­ing any­one in hopes that every­one can see them­selves rep­re­sented some­where in the mural. Autumn notes her aspi­ra­tions for the mural, “While paint­ing the mural, I tried to keep in mind that this was for the uni­ver­sity and every­one who attends or works here on cam­pus.”  This is exhib­ited in the way that the mural is, it is some­thing that is relat­able for just about everyone.

The work put into the mural was vast and to attest that it was com­pleted effi­ciently, they split up the work. Autumn assigned her­self the paint­ing of the fish, water­fall, grass, bridge, trees, rocks, and the remain­ing water. Dar­rin painted the for­est and the light­house. Addi­tion­ally, they worked together on the boat, anchor, and cliffs. Given the over­all goal of the mural is to present a piece of art­work that every­one on cam­pus can relate to, there is hid­den symbolism/meaning in each aspect of the piece. Over­all, the mural’s sole pur­pose is to mir­ror the expe­ri­ences and oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able to stu­dents here at UW-Superior. Along with just adding nature aspects to the mural, there are mean­ings as well which Autumn explains, “The water rep­re­sents the col­lege student’s life here at the uni­ver­sity; with the fish­ing being the incom­ing class, the bridge and path­ways being the sec­ond year stu­dents, the water­fall being the third year stu­dents, and finally grad­u­at­ing stu­dents are rep­re­sented by the light­house. The for­est rep­re­sents the dif­fer­ent ways to become involved on cam­pus, with pic­tures of some of those oppor­tu­ni­ties hid­den in the leaves. The boat and anchor sym­bol­ize the his­tor­i­cal back­ground of Supe­rior and that no mat­ter where any­one goes, they are always ‘anchored’ here at UW-Superior.” These fea­tures add a deeper mean­ing to the piece and work towards dri­ving home the cen­tral idea that the mural is attempt­ing to express.

Many UWS stu­dents and staff are already ask­ing whether or not more art work will be dis­played around cam­pus to which Autumn has to say, “I have talked to a few other fac­ulty mem­bers about design­ing more murals for our cam­pus. Noth­ing is set in stone yet, but let’s keep our fin­gers crossed.” It is evi­dent that this mural is serv­ing to not only rep­re­sent the peo­ple on this cam­pus but to also spark enthu­si­asm for future art work in build­ings. If you have not seen this mural yet be sure to check it out in the YU atrium, it is a sight you do not want to miss.

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