For Adrienne Nel ’16, the Barnard campus, although steeped in the arts and located in New York City, seemed to be missing something. An art history major, she believed that something was a permanent student-art installation. Nel and her newly recruited committee implemented her idea for a mural designed and painted exclusively by students.
The SGA committee selected four artists: Sasha Brenman ’16, Asia Cunningham ’17, Rachael Dottle ’16, and Joanne Raptis ’16. One of the unusual features of the project was that the artists worked collaboratively on the mural, rather than dividing the wall into four distinct quadrants, as is often the practice when several artists create a mural. “The whole point of having a mural on campus is to be inclusive of many styles, to get as many artistic styles…as possible that could mesh together,” says Nel.
The mural adorns the wall outside the student-life office on the third floor of The Diana Center. The SGA, through Associate Dean of Student Life Alina Wong, obtained permission for the wall painting from Dean of the College Avis Hinkson ’84 and Vice President of Campus Services Gail Beltrone. The brightly colored mural features images of students reading, painting, dancing, knitting, and otherwise engaged in arts, against iconic images of the campus (like the gates and several hidden figures of Millie the Bear), musical notes representing the Barnard song, “College on the Hilltop,” as well as significant New York landmarks, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, the 1 subway line, and others that are perhaps more obscure to the casual observer.