Sunday, May 19, 2024

PAVA brings color to campus with murals

PAVA paints a mural in Sibley Hall on April 4.



By Cinara Marquis

Most of the architecture on SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus is brutalist, a striking style characterized by simple geometric forms made of cement. It’s colorless and imposing, but it’s a huge blank slate for artwork.

Before 2020, the Plattsburgh Association of the Visual Arts created many murals around the campus, but with the threat of COVID-19 looming, PAVA had to stop meeting.

“It took a long time to get both the club and mural painting to be a regular occurrence on campus again,” said McKenna Brazie, president of PAVA.

The club has painted three murals so far: one for the Accessibility and Resources office, one for the Student Health Center’s Counseling Services and one for Sibley Hall.

“ARO’s was done to add a little bit of color inside of their office which is now in the bottom of the library. This mural is not up yet, but will be by the end of the semester as it is painted on canvases,” said Andreas-Jonathan Shuler, treasurer for PAVA.

At the Student Health and Counseling Center PAVA painted a mural outside of the Counseling Center offices.

“They had been reaching out for some time to the Art Department, and only found us this semester,” PAVA Vice President Alexander Finkey said.

The mural is aimed at making the space more welcoming.

“We were asked to paint there because before the wall was white, intimidating, and not sparking the positivity the Health Center was longing for. The Health Center has a very stereotypical hospital vibe to it,” Brazie said, “We painted the murals with motifs and colors with mental health in mind.”

After the base dries, inspirational messages will be added to affirm those coming to the Health Center.

The third mural was painted in Sibley Hall for a similar reason: to make it more welcoming.

“The Sibley Hall mural was done as another outcry for more art within Sibley Hall,” Finkey said.

 Sibley Hall is the host for numerous programs such as day care and Third Age. It is also a place for classrooms and offices.

“We wanted to bring these murals on campus to help brighten up the blank walls that we find all around campus, as well as giving back to the community of Plattsburgh,” Shuler said.

Members of PAVA find the work gratifying.

“Seeing the staff gush and thank you for our hard work is very rewarding. To get praised for something you love doing anyway will never grow old. We’ve had very good turnouts for our mural paintings, so I think that means people really enjoy it,” Brazie said.

For Finkey painting the murals is a way to build community and destress.

“It is really amazing to see the club get together and just have a great time painting. We have gotten to talk and enjoy it as a stress reliever from our normal classes. I personally loved doing them as I don’t get to paint much in my day-to-day life or classes,” Finkey said. “To me, painting the murals was the thanks, allowing us to take up a chunk of wall that we are allowed to paint on, and I think that goes for many of the others too.”

Murals enliven a space, boosting the beauty and character of the campus, inspiring murals bring color and creativity to places that previously lacked it. The brilliance of art brings joy and peace to onlookers passing by as well.

“I think murals are of a huge importance on campus. They bring a new vibrance that can’t be achieved any other way, and students planned and painted it,” Finkey said. “Not only does that look good on a resume, I think it also speaks to how involved someone is. A lot of times too, people get really interested in a space because of murals.”

PAVA welcomes everyone to their meetings, especially the mural paintings.

“We draw them out first, and fill them in paint-by-number style, so it’s easier for non-artist to understand and partake. PAVA is and always will be a place for artists and non artists to collaborate together,” Brazie said.

As the semester comes to a close, PAVA isn’t expecting to paint any more murals, but the group is excited to paint more murals in the following semester. More walls in the Health Center and Angell College Center may be the next hosts.

“Now that we have three murals floating out there I don’t think it will take long for more faculty and staff to take notice. This semester alone, we were asked by multiple groups to do them, so I’m sure more opportunities are on the way,” Finkey said.


PAVA’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. on April 18 in Myers 224. It will be a catered Bob Ross night where attendees will paint alongside a video from Bob Ross’ landscape painting series.

Support PAVA members at the BFA Senior Exhibition at 3 p.m. on April 13 in the Myers Lobby Gallery and the Joseph C. and Joan T. Burke Gallery.

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