Today and tomorrow, students can participate in the painting of an “interactive mural” at the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center. “This mural will help students to learn about people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds and come together to learn about each other’s history and overall help everyone to learn about living together through imagination and creativity,” said LSA senior Marcia Lee.

Chelsea Trull
Painter Eliseo Art Silva and LSA senior Marcia Lee examine the draft for a new multicultural mural to be created in the William Monroe Trotter House and painted by residents.(Forest Casey/Daily)

The theme of the mural, We Have Yet to Learn the Simple Art of Living Together, references a Martin Luther King Jr. sermon that was also the inspiration for the theme of this year’s MLK symposium, Lee said.

“The mural shows a progression from individual cultures to the idea of solidarity and working together,” she said.

The mural will consist of four different panels that depict the struggle to live in harmony with people from all cultures. The centerpiece of the mural is an oak tree with pictures, portraits, symbols and icons from various cultures — submitted by students involved in this project — hanging from the branches.

“This oak tree symbolizes strength and shows how positive behavior helps it grow as well as the negative aspects that try to tear it down,” Lee said. The mural will also have a section for graffiti art and will display the word “solidarity” written in various languages.

Highly acclaimed painter Eliseo Art Silva will be overseeing the creation of the mural. Students will paint the mural by following the paint-by-number outline that was drawn yesterday. The actual painting of the mural will take place today from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Trotter House.

Student organizations that will be involved in the creation of the mural include the Black Student Union, La Voz Latina, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, United Asian Americans Organizations, Native American Student Association, the Office of Multiethnic Student Affairs, the Arab Student Association, Ozone House and Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success.

NASA co-chair Matthew Stehney said that his organization decided to help with the project because, “(NASA) has always felt strongly about being unified with other cultural groups. There has always been a desire to be connected.”

SAFE treasurer Allie Dakroub said his group chose to be involved in the creation of the mural to show solidarity with other cultures.

“While SAFE is a political organization concerned about the Arab-American struggle, we decided to be a part of the creation of this mural to show that we care about and recognize the struggles and hardships that all other cultures have to face,” Dakroub said. “This mural will promote multiculturalism and bring awareness of negative aspects that work against the unity of society.”

The Trotter House is a multicultural house on campus where culturally and ethnically based student groups meet together and hold various events. “It would only make sense to have the mural there,” Stehney said.

“The mural itself will help to increase the presence of art here at the University,” Dakroub said. “I feel students will be able to appreciate the imagination and creativity that went into the creation of the mural, but more importantly, this project will bring about awareness to the similarities of the stereotypes that all cultures face. This mural is being painted to promote unity.”


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