Mural Marks Return From Pandemic

A new outdoor mural is greeting students and employees on their return to campus for spring quarter, with a colorful scene that represents a hopeful emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

students working on muralThe mural was painted by five De Anza art students on the side of a small building facing onto the Campus Center patio, near the entrance to the Baldwin Winery. It’s a collaboration between the students, Art instructor Eugene Rodriguez, Euphrat museum director Diana Argabrite and college President Lloyd Holmes.

“There’s a lot of symbolism in this mural – life and death and everything we’ve been through during the pandemic,” said art major Audra O’Reilly, who worked on the project.

Entitled “The World As It Is and the World We Want To See,” the colorful mural includes a stark desert landscape that transitions to a more welcoming environment, with animals, Monarch butterflies and a blossoming cherry tree.

students working on muralThe project is meant to advance President Holmes’ goal of creating more art in public spaces on campus, Argabrite said. She added that she hopes people will use the mural as a background for selfies, inserting themselves into the colorful landscape.

Rodriguez said he developed the idea in collaboration with Argabrite after talking with President Holmes.  “She and I together came up with the idea for the mural and the theme, and I put it out to some students (to see) if they’d be interested.”

The artists – all advanced painting students at De Anza – began painting in mid-February, after meeting several times on Zoom to refine their design and map out a work plan. They painted two days a week, before finishing at the end of March.

student approaching muralThe biggest challenge of the project was “planning and coming together for a cohesive project,” said Jeffrey Smith, who's majoring in graphic design. “When it comes to being an artist, everybody has their own style, but I think overall we came together as a team.

Art student Bethany Forman, who is two classes away from her associate degree, said she was excited when Rodriguez invited her to join the project. “We all said, ‘Absolutely, we want to paint a mural on campus!’ ”

students painting muralForman, who recently launched her own mural painting business, said of the project’s theme: “It’s really speaking to the hardship that we’ve all been through with COVID. I think we’ve captured what is our hope for a better future.”

Students Sabina Garcia and Charles Haiwen said they enjoyed coming to campus and working on the project. After spending most of the last two years indoors at home because of the pandemic, Haiwen said with a laugh, “It feels good to be here.”

Added O’Reilly: “It makes me really proud to make a statement at this school, which I’ve loved for so long.”

(Posted on April 20, 2022)

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