The Natural Resources building is sporting a new mural, ready for the return to in person classes coming next semester. The new painting was the result of a campus wide contest put on by HSU students and came with a $1,000 reward for the winning artist. The contest was held last month, and had artists from all over the campus sending in art pieces with the hopes of sprucing up the spaces that students spend the class time in.
The winner of the mural contests was a piece titled “The Merge” by studio arts major Vincenzo Alatorre. Alatorre’s painting features a woman sitting in the palms of a tree and conferring with an eagle, over a large pond. The piece symbolizes finding sanctuary in nature and the natural processes of the earth. According to Alatorre, he heard of the mural contest like many other, through the call put out over Instagram.
“I found out about it over Instagram and the prompts really resonated with me,” Alatorre said “And the opportunity to get my art on campus and get seen caught my attention.”
This piece was the culmination of a several month long process started by HSU graduate Allison Muench, who came up with the idea of holding an art contest after looking at the spaces she was working in during class. Muench went forward with the plan to get some new student made artwork put up by collaborating with several members of the faculty, such as dean of the natural resources and sciences department Dale Oliver, and putting the call out to bring in as many students as possible to submit art and vote for the winner. According to Oliver, the work to a large degree was the result of cooperation between a wide group of different departments at the school.
“there’s a public art committee on campus, and they were just starting up. the purpose of that committee was to oversee all public art requests.” Oliver said “they haven’t formed completely so what we did was we reached out to the chair, James Laughlin with the art department. together we decided how this could go forward to get university blessing”
Muench initially wanted to run a contest because she thought that spaces on campus could use some more work, and that it could be a great opportunity to get students involved. After getting the school on board, Muench put out the word over Instagram and via word of mouth to as many students as possible, with prompts like finding sanctuary in nature and being both lost and found in the natural world. From that came 18 submissions from students in various different parts of the campus.
From there, Muench put out a poll for people to vote for their top three favorite pieces. Muench hopes that projects like this will both set a precedent for further opportunities to allow student artists to showcase their work on campus, and to encourage students to look at the buildings their working in and consider how they could be made more vibrant and interesting. While this was the only one approved for now, Muench hopes there is potential for more art in the future.
“I think if students are interested in repeating this process there is potential for it.” Muench said. “Personally i’m hoping to get one more up.”