“Roots” mural encourages equality and inclusivity


Photo credit/ Amanda Morgan

Come see this interactive mural displayed in the Learning Commons by a group of Marywood’s own Art Therapy students.

A group of Art Therapy students hope their newly-created mural fosters uplifting thoughts and actions on campus.

“Going Back to Our Roots” was created by third-year Art Therapy students Mallory Lang, Alexandria Kolar, Brandon DeManicor, Emily Evans, Krista Perdomo and Victoria Meono. It was a project requirement for an art therapy intern class, which prepares students for future internships.

The mural, now on display on the wall by the dining area in the Learning Commons, shows a depiction of a woman plunging her hands in the ground with words of inspiration surrounding her. The inspiration behind this image was the scene from the popular Disney movie “Moana” when the molten lava beast Te Ka transforms back into the gentle, true form of Te Fiti.

“[The goal of this project is to] encourage and celebrate inclusivity and equality throughout campus,” Lang said.

The students say the project is all about diversity and finding yourself. According to Kolar, as depicted by the earthly image, the message is about digging into who you are. This is where the Moana reference comes in, with Te Fiti reaching into the earth to ground and rediscover her true self. The group hopes other students will be able to apply this inspiration to their own lives and identities.

While planning this project until the time of the finished artwork, the group said they experienced little to no problems. The only issue they said they came across was choosing the initial silhouette to use. This setback consequently improved the mural in the end, creating an image they are hoping to display proudly on campus.

Working in such a large group could be daunting and a potential problem, but the students said they feel they pulled it off.

“We got together pretty well and everybody brought something different to the table,” DeManicor explained.

This project was more than just an assignment for this group of students, but rather a chance to make some new friends while displaying their talents as one cohesive project.

“It didn’t really feel like work. It just felt like we were all hanging out,” Kolar added.

The students said they are proud of working together to create a potentially influential art piece they hope will draw a large number of viewers and participants.

“It starts off as an idea on a piece of paper and turns into something much more than that,” Lang said.

This group created a beautifully inspired mural for all students and faculty to see in the Learning Commons. “Going Back to our Roots” will be displayed now until finals week.

The group has been seen distributing flyers for this mural throughout campus. At the mural display will also be a table with paper and pens, the artists’ statement and brochures explaining who they are, their goal, contact info and instructions on how to interact with the mural.

A drop box accompanies the mural for interactivity. Students and staff can think of a word they would like added to the mural, write it on a slip of paper and put it in the drop box.

“The question we are asking people is look inside yourself and find your true self and try to find a word that describes yourself,” Evans explained.

The group will look in the drop box periodically and add the new words to the mural. They encourage broad participation. And any suggested words are anonymous.

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