A handful of Shenandoah University students used the extra class time during J Term to add a splash of color to the walls of Gregory Hall.
Led by Adjunct Assistant Art Professor Abigail Gómez, M.F.A., the “Creative Buzz Mural Painting” course made its debut this month and provided students the chance to challenge their creativity and engage with their environment on campus in a direct way. During the three-week course, five undergraduate students were tasked with designing murals that they then brought to life within the student lobby of Gregory Hall, which houses the College of Arts and Sciences.
Students put the finishing touches on their artwork on Thursday, Jan. 20.
Gómez said the course, which requires no prior art experience, helps teach art appreciation and expands the visual art opportunities available to SU students.
It also offers the students an opportunity to engage in creative problem solving, and also offers them an opportunity to share what’s important to them, what they believe in.”
Abigail Gómez, M.F.A., Adjunct Assistant Art Professor
Madison Kavlick ’25 (shown left), a nursing student, chose a butterfly concept inspired by the diversity of Shenandoah students, who come from different backgrounds and focus on different areas of study. Though the right half of Kavlick’s mural depicts a typical butterfly, an array of flowers stands in place of the insect’s left wing.
“It just shows how there’s always more behind someone that you don’t really know,” Kavlick explained.
On the opposite wall, Jonathan Watkins ’22, a global studies major, and Victoria D’Haiti ’22, a psychology student, teamed up and chose a design that pays tribute to the areas of study offered within the College of Arts and Sciences. In the center is a profile of a person’s head, which is surrounded by a compass, a microscope, a paint palette, a globe and an open book with “SU” written on the pages.
“I’m excited because this is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, so just to be a part of it and have the opportunity to do it is really cool,” Watkins said. “Every time I come through here, I’m like, ‘I did that.’ And just knowing it’s going to be here for a long time, I just feel like I made my mark on the university. That’s pretty cool.”
Eve Ritenour ’24 (shown right), another psychology student, chose to paint an image of a girl gardening with the Earth encircling her head, giving the mural the semblance of an “idol figurine.” Ritenour said she wanted her mural to be nature-themed and that she and her classmates “just wanted to bring some color” to the otherwise bland walls of Gregory Hall in a space frequented by their peers.
That was the goal for Natalie Asmen ’24, a healthcare management student at the School of Business who has an affinity for colors. She chose to paint a large sunset with vibrant hues of blue, orange, yellow and purple.
“I just wanted to make something that kind of brings joy to people and kind of sticks out,” Asmen said.
D’Haiti, echoing the statements of some of her classmates, said that while the Creative Buzz experience was “nerve-wracking” because it was something new, it also taught her to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.
I didn’t know what I would get out of this class at first. I just saw a mural class and thought it’d be pretty cool to paint something. I didn’t think we’d get the chance to have this big of a space and to get to do it on the actual university’s walls. This was a great opportunity, and I thought if I don’t take opportunities like this now, then I will never be able to take chances like this later in life.”
Victoria D’Haiti ’22, undergraduate student in the Creative Buzz Mural Painting course