Students Paint Wall Mural

Adams Residents Decorate Walls of Squash Court Art Studio

It wasn't exactly Guernica. But then again, it wasn't really supposed to be.

Attracted by posters around campus depicting Picasso's wrenching collage in protest of the Spanish Civil War, a dozen students volunteered their artistic skills yesterday to help create a wall-size mural in the Adams House squash court art studio.

But rather than trying to create a social statement, the students decided to enjoy themselves instead.

Organized by Janet Echelman '87, an instructor at the Graduate School of Design, and Adams House resident David E. Reich '96, the canvas mural was conceived as a piece of "collaborative art work, open to people to paint whatever theme they want to," said Echelman, who also serves as the Adams House resident art tutor.

"We're doing this without the normal Harvard desire to make it the very best," Reich said. "It's more something for people to have fun."


The participating students decided to paint without a unifying motif and allow the "process of making the mural create the art work," Echelman said. "Everybody's just painting in the hopes that it'll turn into something."

For example, Adams resident Ann Poduri '94 painted a multi-colored peacock near a brilliant orange sun. "I was looking for something to serve as a template to play [around with]," Poduri said. "So I'm having fun, playing with colors."

Echelman, serving in her first year as the Adams resident art tutor, said she got the idea from her participation in a similar project with 50 other artists at the National Art School in Bali, Indonesia.

Echelman approached Reich, and they applied for and received a $300 Kahn Grant for acrylic paints and canvas from the Harvard-Radcliffe Office of the Arts.

Reich and Echelman aren't sure what they're going to do with the mural once it's done. Possibilities include festooning it across Plympton Street or displaying it in the Adams House dining hall.

"I consider this the first of many," said Echelman, who hopes to organize another mural for the Arts First Festival in April.

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