Winning murals make Lucas Hall a little brighter

Visitors to the Lucas Hall foyer examine UMSL student Charlie Nowell's finished mural.

Visitors to the Lucas Hall foyer examine UMSL student Charlie Nowell’s finished mural. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As dreary winter weather envelops the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus, the walls in Lucas Hall are looking a little brighter.

Two student murals are being installed in the public spaces of the College of Arts and Sciences, the product of a scholarship contest to find the designs that best symbolized the past, present and future of UMSL. Charlie Nowell and Joe Sanders both won $1,000 by submitting winning mural designs that encapsulate the contest’s theme of “The Past, Present and Future of the UMSL Promise.”

The winning designs displayed talent and professionalism, said Jeanne Zarucchi, professor of art history and French. The College of Arts and Sciences sponsored the contest, and Zarucchi was the chair of the contest’s selection committee.

“Both designs demonstrated strong visual impact and appeal with bold use of color and a dynamic composition,” Zarucchi said. “Each design had a different interpretation of the theme of past, present, and future, and the design successfully embodied the concept.”

Nowell, who is majoring in art with an emphasis in graphic design, based his mural concept for the foyer of Lucas Hall on simple Swiss-style designs. His red, white and gold design contains simple icons that are universally recognizable with a modern touch. Transferring what he did with pixels on the computer to paint on a wall was a bigger challenge than he’d expected.

UMSL student Joe Sanders

UMSL student Joe Sanders mixes paint for his mural in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Conference Room. (Photo by August Jennewein)

“It was way more difficult than I thought it was going to be, but it makes me want to paint a little bit more,” Nowell said.

In addition to his classes and painting, he’s also a graphic designer at Momentum Worldwide, an advertising agency with offices in Clayton, Mo. Nowell plans to graduate in May.

Sanders’ piece in the Dean’s Conference Room consists of red and white circles and a mosaic of colors trailing behind a falcon. The circles represent the 28-person committee that formed the university, and the mosaic represents the diversity of the current student body. The falcon represents the university moving into the future.

Sanders has painted murals before, but said the conference room piece is his largest so far.

“I wanted my mural to be future-proof,” said Sanders, also a senior majoring in art with a graphic design emphasis. “I didn’t want to do anything too literal that would look out of date in two years.”

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