Art department to turn overpass into canvas

What began as a small design drawn with pencil on newsprint will soon decorate a much larger canvas adjacent to campus.

The art department has undertaken the task of painting a mural on the empty, gray, concrete wall beside University Drive at the rear entrance to campus. The wall is part of Loop 121, and it stands on the side of the road directly beneath the overpass.

Overseeing the project will be Hershall Seals, chair of the art department, a man who has experience with paintings of this magnitude. He oversaw the creation of the enormous fish mural painted by UMHB art students on the side of Belton Dam in 2000.

“The mural will be like a ‘Hi, how are you’ when you drive onto campus,” Seals said.

Art department Chair Hershall Seals discusses mural designs with an art student. The students and faculty-designed painting will convert a concrete eyesore into a beautiful art piece. Photo by Garrett Pekar

Art department Chair Hershall Seals discusses mural designs with an art student. The students and faculty-designed painting will convert a concrete eyesore into a beautiful art piece. Photo by Garrett Pekar

The main entrance to campus is decorated with signs, emblems and purple and gold flowers in full bloom, but the Sports Plex is all that occupies the back entrance. The mural will add a big splash of color to beautify that side to the university.

Seals accepted the task from senior Vice President for Administration Dr. Steve Theodore, who originally proposed the idea.

The overpass has become a white board for eager vandals who have placed their stamps, some very off-color, on the cold concrete.

“I drive to work that way, and I see the graffiti on the wall sometimes,” he said. “I thought it would be a great idea if we had something that represented our university there.”

Theodore approached Seals with the idea, which he accepted without hesitation.

Because Loop 121 is a state road, Theodore needed to obtain permission from the state before doing anything to alter it. He presented the idea to officials from the City of Belton as well, even though their approval was not required.

The officials in Belton loved the idea, and they immediately helped receive the required permission from the state.

All the legalities have been met, but before paint touches the wall, Seals and his students must first decide what they want the finished product to look like.

Junior art major Joanne Cervantes painted a watercolor design for the mural.

“Hershall drew up a sketch in class of what he had envisioned, and I took it home and painted the design with the letters, flowers and arches,” she said.

The design is full of bright colors, but besides adding cheer, the mural could be a way to reduce the graffiti, that often appears on the wall.

Drafting on the concrete is slated to begin this semester and painting could start as early as January.

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Author: Garrett Pekar

Garrett is a sophomore mass communication/journalism major from Granger, Texas. He is the opinions page editor for The Bells. Garrett is also an RA in McLane Hall as well as member of the men’s tennis team. His hobbies include spending quality time with friends and family, listening to music and playing some of his own on the guitar.

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