Student Art Society leads ‘free-form mural’ in North Village II


Meaghan Hayman

The first painting session of the mural took place over Homecoming weekend. Students are invited to come on Sunday Nov. 2 to finish the painting. As it is family weekend, the Resident Life staff welcomes students to bring their family and friends to paint as well.

After three years of effort, the Student Art Society and North Village Residents Staff collaborated and began painting a mural on the first floor of North Village 2.

This idea came from a student who was a resident assistant in North Village three years ago. The student was concerned about the constant vandalism of the new building and thought a mural would prevent vandalism.

Seven members of the Student Art Society—Janos Cseh, ‘15, president; Jaysa Alvarez, ‘15, vice president; Madeleine Zimmermann, ‘18, member; Greg Singer, ‘18, member; Jonathon Yee, ‘17, member; Maddy Becker, ‘17, member; and Daela Muñoz, ‘18, member—spent ten hours painting the outline for the mural on October 18th.

Afterwards, Allegheny students were then invited to fill in the outline with splashes of color, adding their own touch to the piece.
Cseh said the mural was to capture Allegheny and its sense of community.

“Many people felt, and still feel, the North Villages are pretty sterile looking, so they wanted to do something that was both going to brighten up the space and be doable in the event [the community filling in the spots]” said Csech.

“We proposed doing this project, which is a mural, in the style of Keith Haring, who is an artist from the 1980s. His work is very graphic and quick. We decided to do it in his style because it was something that could be partnered between us [Student Art Society] and the community,” said Cseh.

SAS did the black outline, and then left the rest up to the Allegheny community to fill in the white spaces with colors. SAS chose this artist because Haring is popular and it’s easy to copy the artist’s work because it does not take a lot of outside work, according to Cseh.

He describes the art as a “free-form mural” because it was all done on site. “A lot of his work is very interactive; the drawings themselves are meant to be stream of consciousness and flow in between ideas and actions,” says Cseh.

Some ideas in the mural may seem random, but Cseh assures they were inspired by the previous idea or line. The mural intended to include allusions of Allegheny, for example, community, nature, and the gator.

Once the SAS decided the artist, they drew up an idea to give the Residents Life staff to review. Resident Life North Village staff members Kat Goodman, ‘15, CA; Mingming Song, ‘17, RA; Yemi Olaiya, ‘17, RA; Matthew Turner, ‘15, RA; and Hana Falein, ‘15, RA named images they found in the mural that they really felt captured Allegheny and its sense of community.

Some of the things they mentioned were Grounds for Change, gators, food, McKinley’s, and food. “There’s lots of food thing; there’s a lot going on, which is pretty cool,” said Falein. Olaiya said she enjoys the mural.

“I feel like it’s something really special, and I know every time I walk the first floor, it makes me laugh or smile because I see something I didn’t see before. In all dorms, it’s a problem with people ripping down posters, and with this mural, you can’t rip it down. It makes the day brighter in Meadville,” said Olaiya.
Turner commented that the painting session over Homecoming weekend was successful, “People who came were enthusiastic, and stayed for a long time.”
Though many people adore the mural, some people criticize it. Turner remembers a student saying, “What is this? It looks like a children’s hospital!” Despite some negative opinions, the staff is very proud of the mural and encourage students to participate in finishing it.

Cseh alludes to the potential of other floors in North Village also being painted. He hopes that this project will serve as a catalyst for more projects.
“I think there is a potential for a lot of students with artistic endeavors implemented into various places on campus. I’m really glad we can give back to the campus in any way,” said Cseh.

Goodman said that North Village is not the only building who planned to do a mural; Schultz, Brooks, and Walker all want to have murals in the future. “We’ve really started something,” said Goodman. There is another painting session Sunday Nov. 2 and the North Village Resident Life Staff hope this six hour session will complete the mural. All Allegheny student’s are invited to come and paint on the mural