A Mural of Belonging

Thu Dec 1, 2022 at 10:28 AM

Martin Geiger stands next to the mural he painted

As students sat in the computer area working on their coursework in the Houff Library, the back wall behind them sat bare and blank. It seemed that space was just waiting for its turn to become a treasured piece of artwork for students, faculty, and staff alike to admire each time they entered the library.

“We wanted to incorporate more student art and creativity in the library,” said Avie Thacker, Houff Library’s Head Librarian. “Library staff had the idea to freshen up the area with color and invite students to paint a mural.”

After expressing the need for some drastic renovations to that blank canvas of a wall, a plan came into fruition. A contest would be created for students to enter with the chance at an opportunity to bring their vision for the space to reality. A committee of faculty and staff came together to decide that the theme behind the contest would be “belonging” – a fitting topic for a space that allows students to collaborate and work together while on campus.

The contest information was shared campus-wide, and the committee was able to select Martin Geiger, a BRCC student, to create the mural, all while giving him the opportunity to decide how to creatively interpret how he would present the theme effectively.

Once all of the preparations were complete, the artwork was set to begin! With assistance from faculty and staff around the college, and some “elbow grease,” the mural was completed in roughly three months’ time.

“Colleen Pendry helped us select art supplies for the student to use, and Buildings & Grounds helped prepare the space for Martin to paint,” said Avie. “Martin worked independently, set his own schedule, and had the mural completed in the allotted time.”

The mural depicts a sunny scene outside of the Houff Library full of individuals – giving the viewer a glimpse into the sense of the community that surrounds the college. The Library staff agree that the mural certainly makes the computer area friendlier.

“The mural depicts the welcoming, bright atmosphere that we want to create in the library,” said Avie. “We have had numerous faculty, staff, and students ask about the history of the mural. They all think it’s great that it was done by a student!”

Now that the mural is complete, all who enter the library are reminded that they do belong at Blue Ridge Community College, and can do their best to share that same sense of belonging with others.