Students Design Mural to Promote Inclusivity on Campus

lebanon valley college students in ceramics class

Students in the ceramics studio class at LVC are designing a diversity, equity, and inclusion-themed mosaic mural on campus.

After hearing about various guest speakers’ experiences of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on campus, the students in the class surveyed the LVC community about its thoughts on the topic. Based on the survey responses, the students proposed mural designs to a selection committee, and then the LVC community voted on the work of three semifinalists—Shannon Peachey, Isabel Campbell, and Amelia Mantione—to choose the final design. After two weeks of campus voting, Mantione’s design was selected.

“I am so excited for my design to be the mural we actually create for the class,” said Mantione, a senior biology and creative arts double major. “It means a lot to me to have my art be in a large, permanent, and public display. It is amazing to know that my ideas are out in the world for everyone to see.”

Mantione’s winning design, which will be featured inside the Allan W. Mund College Center, illustrates multiple hands pulling a colorful quilt across the wall. The quilt is made up of squares that contain symbols representing different cultures and perspectives. 

With this design, she hopes to capture the idea that inclusivity is always changing and that achieving it may look different from year to year. Having the hands pulling the quilt but not completely covering the wall showcases the idea that the LVC community is always working to be as inclusive as possible. The quilt itself represents the fabric that many cultures use to preserve their ideas or traditions, and the rainbow colors in between each of the squares on the quilt represent pride for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I want my mural to show that everyone has to work together to achieve inclusivity,” Mantione said. “I hope that when people see the mural, they will be more conscious of their actions or are inspired to make a change. It is hard to predict what people will think of your art, but I hope the community will enjoy it.”

Each student in the class will contribute two tiles that resonate with them most, and the ceramic pieces that will make up the mosaic mural are being created, fired, and glazed.

“It is like we are all putting a bit of ourselves in this project, and I truly credit Amelia for such a great design because we, as the other students in the class, get to be a part of the bigger picture,” said Kayla Spiller, a senior psychology major. “I hope the mural provides a feeling of representation for a lot of underrepresented groups and that students feel inspired and learn that you do not have to be an art major or profound artist to create something with a powerful and positive impact.”

The idea to create a mosaic mural came about after Karen Beall, adjunct instructor in sculpture and ceramics, met Micahelanne Helms, a community mural artist, and they collaborated with Spiller and Dr. Felicia Brown-Haywood, associate vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, and institutional success at LVC, to come up with the DEI theme.

When asked what they hope the impact of the mural will be on students or visitors at LVC, one student in the ceramics class replied, “Even though all parts of an individual’s identity are not visible when you look at them, we hope that every person on campus will be able to see a part of themselves represented in the mosaic reflecting back at them,” while another hopes the mural will “spark conversations among students and inspire curiosity to learn more about others’ intersecting identities.”

The mural will temporarily be installed inside Mund by May and permanently installed in a designated location in the building following renovations over the summer of 2023.

 

-- Annie Steinfelt ’24