Inspired by one of the runner-up submissions to last semester’s 5K Challenge, UR’s Students’ Association (SA) is working on a campus art project that would allow student artists to propose and install murals in Douglass Dining Center.

SA Projects and Services Co-Chairs, senior Namita Sarraf and junior Ulrik Soderstrom, said that the idea for students to install murals on campus was proposed after last semester’s 5K Challenge garnered several submissions from students hoping to see more opportunities for student art on campus. In response, SA has partnered with the Hartnett Gallery to sponsor the mural project.

“The Hartnett Gallery feels very, very under-advertised and under-recognized on campus, so this is a great opportunity to partner with them and give them a huge push on that,” Soderstrom said.

Sarraf and Soderstrom said that the mural contest, which will be open to all University students, will be judged by a committee of two SA senators and two representatives from Hartnett Gallery’s executive board.

The committee will choose one student’s design to be installed on a blank wall in Douglass Dining Center. Once the project is underway, the student artist or artists will be able to work on their mural during Douglass’ off-hours.

“We’re cognizant that people don’t want to have students painting while they’re eating,” Sarraf noted.

The mural will not be a permanent installation in Douglass, as the University has major renovations in store for the building following the relocation of UR’s campus bookstore to College Town. However, SA envisions the murals as a long-term student art project.

“Each mural will be up for a year, and then the next mural will be installed on top of it,” Sarraf said.

Both Sarraf and Soderstrom noted that Dean of the College

supporter of the mural project and that he has been amenable to making sure the project will not be displaced by the renovations to Douglass.

Whether the mural receives final approval will be determined by Feldman, UR Facilities, and the SA/Harnett Gallery committee.

Even though the murals were not selected as the winning 5K Challenge proposal last semester, SA and the school administration have decided to implement the project anyway.

Sarraf noted that SA will be accepting submissions for this semester’s 5K Challenge until Nov. 2.

Soderstrom and Sarraf also addressed last year’s winning 5K Challenge proposal, saying that after the smoothie bar was approved, it became apparent that $5,000 would not be sufficient to go through with the original plans, and that blenders were installed in Common Connection instead. However, they also noted that the Zoca station in Wilson Commons is scheduled to be replaced by Freshens Burrito Bowl, which will serve smoothies.

SA plans to provide $1,000 toward the installation of a mural, along with a $500 scholarship toward art supplies, which will be awarded to the winning student or team. Since the murals won’t be sponsored by the 5K Challenge, SA is still working to secure funding for the project.

Parent funding will be used for the project, but “that’s sort of the final variable that’s waiting on approval,” Soderstrom said. SA hopes to start considering applications in November, in order to begin installing the winning mural in December. However, they also admitted that the timeline could be extended into next semester.

Soderstrom explained that, once funding is assured, SA plans to begin contacting art students and faculty, as well as reaching out to the entire student body.

“We’ll be doing a big advertising push when we actually start accepting submissions,” Sarraf said.

According to Soderstrom, Wilson Commons has responded positively to the planned murals and has offered wall space for more murals within the student union building, should there be an influx of student interest.

Soderstrom added, “We’re really excited to encourage student artwork on campus because there’s just not enough recognition and programs open for student artists.”

Passanisi is a member of 

the class of 2017.



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