The Hastings College Department of Visual Arts hosted 36 high schools for their fourth annual Mural Day on September 11, making it the largest they have ever had. This is a significant growth from the first year of the event, explained Art Department Chair Aaron Badham.
The first year the event was held, there were roughly 16 teams and the event was held in the parking lot behind the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC).
Since then, they have had to move to the front parking lot between the JDAC and the Gray Center in order to have enough space to accommodate all of the students who are participating.
The art department also used to allow multiple teams from the same school to participate. However, with an increased interest from more schools, they now have to limit all schools to just one team.
“It’s a fun day; word gets around from students who have come before and it just keeps growing,” Badham said.
Mural Day is first and foremost a competition. Students are given a prompt and then have the day to create a mural surrounding said prompt.
This year’s prompt centered around memes and encouraged the students to creatively express their own ideas of memes. Upon announcement of the prompt, teams opened an envelope containing a caption on which to base the design of their mural.
At the end of the day, the murals were judged by the four senior thesis art students. The winning team was Sandy Creek High School, located in south-central Nebraska. This team will hold an exhibition in the critique gallery of the JDAC this spring. The top three teams also received glass-blown pieces as prizes for first, second and third place.
Mural Day is also a chance to get prospective students on campus and participating in art-making activities.
“This is a chance for high school students to come be in the building, get to know current students, meet the art faculty and ultimately have fun creating art,” Badham said.
Being able to connect to the HC community is an opportunity for prospective students as well as the current ones.
Melissa Loney, a senior art student and Mural Day judge, said, “This is a chance to help build a community with the art department.”