Mural club adds splash of colour on residence walls

Students leave a mark that will outlast their student careers

Students from the Loyola Residence Mural Club transformed the Hingston Hall HA 3 common room walls with a bright and punchy mural on April 1 and 2.

Last fall, Alisha Hussey, a community facilitator for Loyola residence at Concordia, pitched the idea of starting a mural club to the residence’s events committee. She suggested painting the walls of the Hingston Hall residence to bring people together and help them feel a greater sense of comfort in their new homes.

“I think there’s a lot of truth to the saying that art brings people together,” she said. “I grew up dancing competitively, and although that’s a completely different art form, I’ve always felt that art is such a great way to incite positive vibes and make people feel part of a group or, in this case, the community within res.”

Hussey spent the last academic year as a resident assistant at the Grey Nuns residence, where the walls were decorated with artwork by previous students. She said the murals made the residents feel less isolated from one another.

“There are murals there that were done [back] when I was a first-year student that are still [at Concordia] today,” Hussey said. “I think the murals themselves help to make the residence building feel more like home to the people living inside.”

Hussey said not only did the murals give residents a sense of home and community, but they also gave students the opportunity to leave their mark.

“It’s a legacy that the residents can leave of themselves and of their time here, but also as a sort of ‘welcome home’ message to those who will move in next year, or for past residents who decide to come back and visit.”

Cody Swim-Moser, a first-year student studying biology, took on the role of head of the club and asked resident artists to pitch ideas.

“It was brought up in one of the events committee meetings,” Swim-Moser said. “And because I thoroughly enjoy painting, I decided that I would volunteer to take charge.”

Swim-Moser, who was his high school’s arts representative and was enrolled in International Baccalaureate visual arts, began organizing the mural club in October. The design for the mural was later chosen by the Events committee at the end of February.

“I see it as a fun project, and it’s a nice way to leave your mark on your residence,” said Swim-Moser.

The club was only able to lay the first brush-stroke a semester after requesting permission from Residence Life, the Concordia department which oversees the Loyola and Sir George Williams residence buildings.

The mural was designed by resident artist Barbara Bouquet, who presented two drawings to events committee. The first was a collage of waves, musical instruments and flowers and the second, a branch with yellow coloured flowers.  She decided to merge them together to create the final product.

“I was looking for something pretty personal. Something I would really like to share with everyone,” Bouquet said. “[There was] just a huge mess of everything going on in my mind.”

Bouquet, a Loyola resident studying communications, said she knew what she wanted to paint from the beginning. She wanted to create “something crazy, but also very pretty,” taking inspiration from some of her previous drawings of flowers and stingrays.

She said whales and stingrays are two animals she loves to draw, and from there she added waves, flowers, clouds and other elements to the drawing to create the mural. She spent more than four hours first sketching her design on the wall, and another two hours outlining it with black paint. On March 26, residents began adding colour to the mural by mixing shades of blues and reds with bright pinks and yellows.

“I wanted to do something for my common room because I thought it was very bare,” she said. “I visualized something, and I thought I could do something good.”

“Next year, a new cohort of people will move in here and they’ll see the amazing artwork on the walls. I think from just looking at it, they’ll know what an incredible place this can be and, hopefully, see the potential for the year to come for them,”  Hussey said. “And if that’s not the case, if anything, at least we’ve made one wall a little nicer to look at.”

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