By Haley Suzuki
A chalkboard mural recently popped up on the wall of the information desk outside of Diversions Cafe. It reads, “What would YOU like to accomplish while you’re here?” and asks the campus community to respond using chalk.
The mind behind this interactive art piece is University of Puget Sound junior Sophia Munic. Those returning to campus might remember the student-created sculptures scattered around campus last year, specifically the huge, white sewing needle on Todd Field which asked passersby to write on it with markers.
The needle sculpture started as a group project for an art class, and Munic wanted to continue creating interactive art for the campus through the chalkboard mural.
The inspiration for these interactive projects arose when Munic noticed an absence of student art expression around campus. “There is a lack of student [art]work displayed on this campus, and none of that work is interactive. In our student center there is so little art or presence of student’s expressions,” Munic said. “That has always bothered me.”
Munic hopes the chalkboard will emulate the role and level of interaction her large needle sculpture on Todd Field had. “[The needle] was meant to act as a shelter, to take your time out of walking to class every day, to make students forget the stress of going to class.” According to Munic, the sculpture was covered with writing by the end of the first day it was displayed, and Munic was glad to see high levels of interaction from the campus community with her art.
The chalkboard mural now permanently in Wheelock Student Center is currently in its “test run” stage, meaning Munic is still figuring out logistics for mural upkeep. To encourage interaction, Munic has been writing questions for students to answer and changing the questions every few days. Aside from asking questions, she plans on inviting different artists to draw an unfinished picture, and have viewers finish the drawing.
The process of creating the mural started about a year ago. Initially, Munic planned on applying for the Expressions Fund through the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS). The Expressions Fund supports students seeking to improve the campus community by funding projects that uplift the campus and give an identity to issues that may not already have a presence around campus.
However, upon getting a budget of $2000 approved through Union Board, the committee that oversees the Student Union Building, Munic no longer needed to apply through the Expressions Fund.
According to Munic, planning the project proved most challenging compared to the actual implementation. “Over the summer, I wrote a proposal on why I wanted to do it, and why [the Union Board] should care,” Munic said. “The Union Board was super into the idea.” She encourages other students to take advantage of these funds from ASUPS and the Union Board to pursue their own creative projects.
The biggest challenge is maintaining the interaction with the mural even after she graduates. She is working on making sure the project can sustain itself with student and staff support going into the future.
Munic encourages students to submit questions or other ideas for the mural to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.