By Jordyn Holliday
College of DuPage art students are painting a new two-sided mural outside of the College’s Greenhouse that will embody the environmentally friendly initiatives of the College’s Horticulture program.
“Their department asked for an art piece that reflects the sustainable urban gardening that you’ll find in and around the Greenhouse and in Illinois,” said Art Instructor Ann Blaas, whose students are taking Art 2221 and 2222. “We’re including things like honeybees, crops, flowers, carrots, tomatoes and the sun.”
Lauren Bavaro (Villa Park), who is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and taking summer Art courses at COD, said that she’s excited to paint her first mural and to learn more about plants.
“I think back to what I know about the Italian Renaissance when art was used to educate people,” she said. “This painting is being used to educate people on the plants in Illinois and horticulture. When kids come to tour the greenhouse, they can see an illustration of their environment.”
Richard Morris (Chicago), an 81-year-old COD Art student, said he loves to make contributions to society through art and that working on this project gives him an opportunity to do so.
“It’s a way to reach out to people and add value to the world around us,” he said. “As an artist who has retired, it also keeps me busy and I’m having fun with it.”
The mural will also highlight other aspects of the College’s identity, including COD’s mascot, the chaparral. Student Andrew Anderson (Elmhurst) designed the chaparral and considers himself privileged to be able to paint it.
“I came up with the idea not only because I thought it would be great for the mural, but also because I often see only an image of the chaparral’s head, so I wanted to add a full body in order to give it more of a narrative,” he said. “For me, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance because I don’t know when I’ll have an opportunity like this again.”
COD students Tania Blanco (Naperville), Mariana Cruz (Carol Stream), Tara Duggal (Oakbrook), Kelly Issacson (Darien) and Rana Sadek (Glen Ellyn) are also participating in the project. The mural is expected to be completed by the end of July.