Walking down the third floor hallway of Biggin Hall each room holds something different. One room is full of splashes of color, another has pieces of clay and sculptures lying haphazardly on the floor. It’s one in the afternoon which means its Wendy Deschene’s office hours, but her office door is closed. From the room across the hall, Judy Garner croons “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and a handful of students are standing over a mural, their faces locked in stern concentration. Deschene blends in with her students and offers each student welcome advice. A little more shading here, blending there and the mural is perfect.
Deschene has been an art professor at Auburn for nine years and when Auburn graduate Kim Howard called her with an interesting mural idea, she jumped at the chance.
“I love finding ways to get students involved in projects beyond the classroom,” Deschene said. “This was perfect for my mural students because it was an interactive project that could also communicate with the local community.”
Deschene and her students began work on Howard’s project “Small World-Big Picture.” Artists from all over the world are working on different murals that will all come together and be featured at the Little Gallery in Faial, Azores where Howard now lives.
“I had two classes work on our piece of the mural,” Deschene said. “In the first class I had them break up into teams of four and each brainstormed and presented their ideas and the class voted.”
Deschene and her students spent the rest of the time during their class organizing different ideas to represent the Spirit of Auburn and incorporate all of the ideas they wanted to include.
The second class did the majority of painting on the mural which depicts what the students thought best embodied Auburn.
“They thought the eagle and Toomer’s Corner were two of the most important details to add,” Deschene said. “They also wanted to show that academics play a huge part in Auburn as well.”
Emily Cox, junior in studio art, wanted to focus on the unique culture that thrives in Auburn.
“We tried to represent everything about Auburn culture evenly,” Cox said. “There is so much tradition at Auburn that we wanted to show.”
The mural depicted students walking around Toomer’s and had snapshots of downtown, barbecue, an eagle flying, a big Auburn colored truck and an emphasis on academics.
“We wanted to give this mural a modern look of tradition,” said Kimberly Bond, sophomore in fine arts. “Tradition is the foundation of the entire piece and we wanted to create a manifestation of all of the parts we thought needed to be recognized.”
The mural is now on display in Biggin Hall, but the formal unveiling will be Saturday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Balcony Bar.
“They’re planning on making it a party with snacks and drinks and we want to invite everyone to attend,” Deschene said.
The mural will be on display until it is time for it to make a trip across the world and join its brother and sister murals to create a never-ending work of art.