MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – On April 8, four professional mural artists and a group of Middlebury College students will embark on a weeklong project to bring a large-scale mural to McCullough Student Center. The project, which has been endorsed by the Committee on Art in Public Places (CAPP), will be directed by Twilight artist in residence Will Kasso Condry (Kasso), who has completed extensive mural and portrait art at the Anderson Freeman Resource Center over the past year.
Kasso will be joined by muralist Isaias Crow, graffiti artist and muralist Daniel “POSE2” Hopkins, and muralist and community organizer Marthalicia Matarrita, who together will lead students in a half-day introspection and mural design workshop that will focus on ideas of personal development, spiritual well-being, empowerment, team building, and communication.
According to Jennifer Herrera Condry, associate director of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center and one of the project’s organizers, students will apply the skills they learn in the workshop to planning out mural designs. Throughout the week, the artists will facilitate hands-on painting workshops with the student participants, who will learn a variety of techniques and how to work with different media in the production of murals for McCullough and the Anderson Freeman Resource Center (AFC). The professionals will paint alongside participants and refine the murals along the way to completion.
“The creation of a community mural in McCullough is consistent with feedback generated from students involved with the McCullough Working Group and the ‘Re-Imaging McCullough’ conversations between 2012 and 2014,” said Herrera Condry. “For many years, students expressed concerns over McCullough not feeling warm and inviting or student-centered, and a desire for it to be a more lively place. Among many wishes, having more art and murals was a recurring request.”
Hannah Pustejovsky ’18, a student helping organize the mural, believes the new artwork can bring the campus community together in important ways.
“We are living in a moment in time where our community is still hurting in ways we fail to express,” said Pustejovsky. “I have seen firsthand how effective the mural project in the AFC was in building a sense of connection to a place and giving students a greater sense of ownership over campus. I think that bringing collaborative art to McCullough will help us reclaim the space as a really student-centric entity.”
For the past year, Kasso has painted and led student workshops to fill many of the corridors and stairwells at the AFC with murals, including large portraits of the center’s namesakes—Mary Annette Anderson and Martin Henry Freeman—at the building’s entrance.
In McCullough, the new mural will be installed on the ground-floor level, to the right of the entrance to MiddExpress, following the wall along the accessible ramp toward student mail boxes. It will be the third mural in the College’s public art collection, joining a large Sabra Field painting on the back of Wright Theatre and a student mural in Proctor, which shows a cutaway perspective of Lake Champlain.
“I see this project as an opportunity to make Middlebury’s collection of public art more inclusive and thus, as a whole, more representative of our community,” said Professor Pieter Broucke, director of the arts and a member of CAPP. “It will join a collection that, through the inclusion of works by international artists, works by artists with a deliberate environmental bent, and works by students, alumni, and faculty emeriti, all speaks to our institutional identity.”
CAPP was founded in 1994 and ever since part of its mission has been to serve as a catalyst for art in public spaces on the Middlebury campus. Middlebury Museum of Art Director Richard Saunders served as chair of CAPP until 2017, when it formally became part of the structure of the Board of Trustees, as a sub-committee of the Resources Committee. It is now chaired by Board of Trustees member Kirtley Cameron ’95.
As part of their campus residency, the visiting artists and Kasso will give a talk on how public art and community murals can be used to create dialogue, build community, and support individual and community-based healing. “Building Bridges: Healing Community through Art” will take place on April 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall. The week will conclude with a reception and “gallery talk” on April 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Crossroads Café at McCullough Student Center.
The cosponsors of the weeklong artists’ residency and mural project include Student Activities, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Twilight Scholars Program, Director of the Arts, the Johnson Visual Arts Residency Program Fund, and Wonnacott Commons.