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Saint Mary’s commissions mural in honor of 175th anniversary

| Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Saint Mary’s will be adding a new mural to its walls as part of a year-long celebration of the College’s 175th anniversary.

Sophomore Jackie Rojas, a member of the mural committee, said she went to two interfaith conferences in Chicago last summer. She visited the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, which is known for greeting card murals.

“The murals made me feel really at home because I’m from Texas,” Rojas said. “I got back to Saint Mary’s, and I realized there was a lack of artwork depicting people of all cultures and all religions. I remembered how the murals made me feel, and I thought it would be a great idea to have one here on campus so that any student or any person that comes here will feel comfortable by finding an image that represents them.”

Rojas said the mural is also a celebration of the College’s founding and history.

“It is showing special moments in history and different traditions of the school as well,” she said.

However, there are still details to be considered and decided upon — Saint Mary’s is still determining the subject of the mural as well as an artist to paint it, Rojas said. She said she hopes the mural will be completed by her senior year.

“We’re hoping the mural will go in the main atrium in Spes Unica Hall,” she said. “It is one of the most visible places on campus.”

Rojas said it took the mural committee some time to decide where the painting should go.

“Originally, we were thinking we would put it outside of Madeleva Hall, but then we realized it would be exposed to the elements and it would deteriorate over time,” she said.

To get the mural started, Rojas said she spoke to vice president for mission Judy Fean. Fean then presented the idea to College President Nancy Nekvasil, who brought the proposal to her cabinet members.

After Nekvasil and her cabinet approved the idea, a committee was created. Rojas and other students and staff are currently working on the committee, but it is open to any Saint Mary’s students that have ideas, she said. The committee will also be polling the community for input.

“There will be a survey sent out to faculty, staff and students,” Rojas said. “The survey will have different questions about the mural, so we can start gathering information to give to the artist. I encourage people to respond to the survey.”

Interested students can contact her directly via email, Rojas said.

Rojas said joining the committee has helped her feel a part of the Saint Mary’s community.

“Before I only knew the students and a few professors,” she said. “Now I have been able to meet new staff members. I enjoy seeing them on campus and extending my family here.”

She has many hopes for the finished mural, including more united campus, she added.

“One of the main objectives of the mural is to create a community,” she said. “We all have our own mini bubbles of community and I really hope that this mural helps us build a bridge between those communities.”

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