The new addition to the Kathrin Cawein Art Gallery will have a longer shelf life than usual.
Senior art student Emily Miller, along with other Pacific students, recently installed a mural of mud plaster tiles to surround the front entrance of the gallery.
Miller, along with art professor Terry O’Day and visiting professor Bernhard Masterson, have been collaborating for this community art project since spring semester of 2015.
“Students were concerned that the gallery wasn’t visible, that a lot of people didn’t know about the gallery, “ O’Day said. “It’s really so easy to walk by and not see it at all. So they, Emily in particular, came up with this idea to make the gallery more visible and attract people into there more often, so people would just know about it.”
The mud plaster tiles were created by students in two basic design art classes and the day-long workshop that was offered on campus.
The medium was completely natural materials from the partial-manure binder to the iron-based paint.
“It’s a really interesting material to work with,” Miller said. “It’s pretty different than anything else with the way it works. It’s almost like relief carving, but you can’t make lines with it. You can only make sort of solid shapes. So you carve into it, and you can make different textures with different kinds of tools, which is fun.”
After the mud tiles dried in the sun, art club members, art students, and work study students returned to paint the designs on the tiles.
Afterward, students and professors came together for the mural’s installation.
“Bernhard and Terry were amazingly instrumental in making it happen and all the students too,” Miller said. “I would say 30 to 40 students worked on it. We had 28 [tiles] made, all by different people, with five or six people doing the installation.”
Masterson is a natural builder and educator who specializes in building with earthy materials.
He has previously taught a ceramics class during O’Day’s leave of absence.
“We will be working with him on another project next semester,” O’Day said. “We’re working with the College of Education to design a new playspace and Bernhard will be involved with that, and also possibly involved with trying to get involved with actually building with some of the equipment with students once that‘s designed.”
This project will be in the spring course Interdisciplinary Design. This class is currently open for enrollment.
Hopefully, the Art department will be able to bring both Pacific and the Forest Grove community together with other projects like this in the future.
“It was a lot of fun and it was really amazing how many people came together to help,” Miller said.
For Miller, this mural was more than just a chance to add beauty to Pacific.
It was also a chance to do community service.
“This was actually my civic cngagement project, so that’s the whole point, but it was a really cool experience. I wanted it to be something that students could walk by and be like ‘I did that.’”
O’Day agrees with Miller on this statement.
“Being able to do a project on campus really does bring people together and then students feel really proud of what they’ve done,” O’Day said. “Having something right here, centrally located on campus is very exciting for students and they really like that they get to do something that stays there.”
The mural can be seen around the entrance of the art gallery, which is located just outside the front entrance of Scott Hall.