The Hastings College Art Department hosted it’s annual Mural Day for high school students on Sept. 14, with 177 students participating from 26 schools. This year they saw a rise in participants with four more schools and at least 40 more students than last year. The rise can be attributed to more interest as word has spread, earlier notice and increased planning.
Mural Day was originally created by Chris Brown, an adjunct professor, as a fun day for high school students, a way to recruit future HC students and show off the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center. Any students visiting for Mural Day were also allowed to submit a portfolio for review in advance, and talent scholarships were handed out that day.
All HC art classes were canceled for the day so that the entirety of the art department faculty, staff and students could help. After high school students arrived, they were given instructions, and each school drew a slip of paper from three different baskets. Each slip of paper contained a random object. The challenge for each team was to combine the three objects into one mural. Each team then had three hours to complete their painting. There was no particular theme required.
“We had a large group of students that seemed to have a lot of fun and enjoyed the mashup again …” said Cara Kimberly, administrative assistant of the department of visual arts, “It’s our second year with the mashups; next year we will do something different. The first year we did tattoos.”
Once all 32 teams were done with their mural, senior thesis students Jake Arnett, Victoria Bowens, Jordyn Brandt and Jeric Minton, judged the competition. As judges, they looked for things such as technique, creativity, and use of color. For the third year in a row, Kearney High School won the contest. As the first place winners, they also received the opportunity to have a two-week exhibition in the small gallery of the JDAC later this year.
The annual Mural Day only happens with early planning. Invitations and instructions were sent out to high schools and art teachers. As each of the 32 teams that attended received their own four foot by six foot vinyl mural and paint, 200 quarts of paint had to be ordered for the day. The day’s four trophies were made by Tom Kreager, professor of visual arts. The creation of the trophies is done by Kreager as a way to teach HC students in his glassblowing class.
“We are working almost exclusively sculptural in the class, and so I wanted students to help and learn while we’re doing it,” Kreager said.
As this year was considered a large success with more students and schools expected to attend next year, the art department will have to make plans for the coming years, such as how to fit all of the students on campus and what to do in the case of poor weather.