Recognizing that murals can be embedded with tremendous cultural and symbolic values, Vince Redhouse came up with an idea for a mural project intended to draw more students to the UA's resource centers.
At African American Student Affairs, located in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, UA sophomores Marianne Bui and Cheryl Gamachi are the first students to begin painting the first of three murals.
He already had the perfect collaborator in mind: Alfred J. Quiroz, a UA professor in the School of Art who has involved University students in mural projects. In particular, Quiroz has worked since 2008 with students at Pueblo de la Cienega, a UA residence hall, and also facilitated the mural project celebrating the UA-led Phoenix Mars Mission.
What Redhouse and Quiroz decided to do was to involve the UA's resource centers in a joint mural project called the Moving Mural Project.
The campuswide project began Feb. 4 at the African American Student Center.
"I think it is important that students have a say in the design and in the process. It gives them ownership," Quiroz said, adding that he believed the project was fitting for self-expression and sharing.
"We forget that everyone is creative and has a creative sensibility to a certain degree," he said. "The point is to think, express it and have fun."
He also said the process is connective.
Two 4-by-8 panels were staged at the UA center with a positive and negative image of the Wildcat logo. Visitors were invited to paint on the two-panel mural with warm and cool colors in acrylic. The same will happen over the course of the semester at the UA's Native American Student Affairs and Disability Resource Center, with the panels remaining at each center for seven days.
"The purpose of the Moving Mural Project is to encourage participants to visit, interact and learn about some of the resource centers available to them on campus," said Redhouse (Navajo), a student in the UA Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law Program.
"To me, the issues we are dealing with are all the same," he said. "So we want students who normally wouldn't attend the centers to know that they are here and that they are very welcoming."
He noted that the centers are each open and receptive to individuals, regardless of their backgrounds. But, too often, people are not aware of the range of activities and other resources that the UA centers support.
Among the other resource centers on campus are Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, Asian Pacific American Student Affairs, the Women's Resource Center and the Office of LGBTQA Affairs.
"More abstractly," Redhouse said, "the project seeks to show participants that even though they may have different backgrounds, they still share the commonality of being a Wildcat."
Mural painting schedules will be set on a weekly basis. The others are:
- Feb. 6 at the Disability Resource Center
- Feb. 7 at Native American Student Affairs
- Feb. 11 at the Disability Resource Center again
- Feb. 12 at African American Student Affairs
To learn more, follow the project on Facebook.
Photos by Beatriz Verdugo/UANews