UMass Dartmouth celebrates new mural as centerpiece of Living Gallery initiative

Mural expresses hope for possible harmony of industry and nature

Mural again
New mural is the latest initiative in the campus-wide Living Gallery Project at UMass Dartmouth.

Today the UMass Dartmouth community came together to celebrate the installation of a large outdoor mural on the west facing facade of the University's Campus Center. The mural, entitled The Fabric of Nature & Industry, is the latest initiative in the campus-wide Living Gallery Project designed to re-imagine the university as an artistic and architectural destination.

“Paul Rudolph's bold modernist vision thrives at UMass Dartmouth,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. “I am grateful to all those involved in the Living Gallery initiative and our muralists for understanding that his vision can transform our campus as an architectural and cultural destination. The installation of this mural serves as a new centerpiece of the Living Gallery and our entire campus.”

Paul Rudolph, the original architect of the campus, was one of the leading architects in America in the 1950s and 60s. He designed UMass Dartmouth with an overall vision of creating an academic utopia. UMass Dartmouth's campus design was considered ground-breaking in its day and remains a monumental achievement. The recent renovation of the Claire T. Carney Library has won numerous architecture awards.

“There is a story to tell about this campus through its bold architecture and groundbreaking design,” UMass Dartmouth College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) Dean Adrian Tio said. “The Living Gallery Project strives to leverage the unique visual narrative established by its original architect, Paul Rudolph, while writing the next chapter of our campus.”

The mural was designed by Portland, Oregon muralist Angelina Marino Heidel and Collaborating Artist Joel Heidel of Marino Heidel Studios. In May of last year the university announced Marino Heidel Studios had been chosen as the finalist team for the UMass Dartmouth Mural Art Project following a national search.

Mural design

“It is such an honor to add our own artistic mark to a campus designed by Paul Rudolph,” Muralist Angelina Marino Heidel said. “I hope the mural will pique the interests of students for many years to come. We aspired to create a work with a legacy which is timeless - engaging onlookers in the theory behind its design and challenging them to piece it together themselves about what it represents to them as an individual and society.”

24 pieces become one

The mural dimensions are approximately 48x12 ft. and is made up of 24 separate pieces. The mural was created from a color schematic of 56 custom mixed colors in addition to black and white.  The mural is supported by a frame connected together by 540 rivets. The drill holes made into the pieces actually ties into the mural design, which contemplates the relationship between nature and industry.

The artists completed the work in a studio located in Oregon. Due to space considerations, the artists were only able to assemble less than half of the pieces at once.The design of the mural connected spiritually for the artists to the history of the university.

The mural pays homage to the textile industry while also striking a cord with the university’s proximity to a coastal community.

The concept is based on the environmental consequences of industry. The mural expresses concern about global warming through intense color usage. Time is an important element of the work. It speaks of time through use of flowing movement and shadow. With time, according to the artists, it is possible to change course, reconstruct and resolve issues.

The piece is about the possible harmony of industry and nature. Industry needs to find balance with the natural world so that nations, communities and the whole of nature can thrive. The idea arriving at this balance is explored in the mural through the morphing of industrial and natural elements as seen in the stylization of birds, fish, grasses, gears and struts.

Mural being painted

The Living Gallery at UMass Dartmouth

In April 2014 the Living Gallery at UMass Dartmouth took its initial step with the installation of Gerry's Window by sculptor, landscape artist and CVPA alumnus Ron Rudnicki. Gerry's Window is a stone and steel work, located in the center of the nautilus bench adjacent to the CVPA Building on the university's main campus. In December CVPA Professor Eric Lintala installed a new sculpture located in the University's Claire T. Carney Library Living Room, Tower Spirits, as the latest addition to the Living Gallery Project.

‌Tower Spirits and Gerry's Window coincided with a series of pilot projects last year, which included scheduled lightings of the Robert Karam Campanile, the bell tower that stands between the Claire T. Carney Library and the Foster Administration building. Paul Rudolph included the campanile in his earliest sketches, as it was very important to his vision.

An additional pilot project was the installation of hanging gardens completed in time for the 2014 Commencement Exercises and are still flourishing today. Hanging gardens were part of Paul Rudolph's original design so much so that mechanisms to support the gardens were installed and remain to this day. The hanging gardens installation was overseen by Westport landscape artist John McCormack, who also designed ‌a cascade of plants and flowers at the campus entrance at the beginning of this academic year.

More recently, the university received four donated sculptures ‌Dancing Lady, King David’s GateOnsetand Rio Grande courtesy of the Stone Family Foundation. The university hopes these endeavors will encourage private donations to the Living Gallery and position the campus for significant funding by foundations and others interested in celebrating the arts.

About UMass Dartmouth

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.