Mural about Appalachia to be installed at Hansford Hall
8/10/2012 1:19:33 PM
|Robby Proctor puts finishing touches on the mural's background.
(Aug. 10, 2012) — A woman with a weathered face, silver hair
piled atop her head, sits on a rustic porch admiring a patchwork quilt. Behind
her, hazy blue mountains and a stream that winds its way between Dahlonega
landmarks form the backdrop of a mural depicting the history and culture of Appalachia.
The mural will be installed at the entrance of North Georgia College &
State University's Hansford Hall, which houses the Department of Visual Arts.
From concept to completion, the project has been a year in
the making and the art students who took part learned about Appalachia and collaboration.
"I found that contribution and sacrifice may be easy to
understand, but difficult to practice on a daily basis," said Robby
Proctor, a recent North Georgia graduate who spent his senior year working on
the project. "You must be willing to share and sacrifice your own agenda
or ideals and be fair in the critique and acceptance of others."
The mural was funded through the Faculty-Undergraduate
Summer Engagement program (FUSE), a campuswide program that seeks to engage
teams of faculty and undergraduate students in research. FUSE is sponsored
through the university's Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative
Activities (CURCA). The purpose of the mural project was to research and depict
"Researching, designing, and painting the mural gave
art students the opportunity to learn more about the rich history of southern
Appalachia and to become part of the artistic legacy of North Georgia," said
Dr. Pam Sachant, head of the Department of Visual Arts. "With support from
FUSE, they were able to work intensely with art instructor Craig Wilson on a
project that took them out of the classroom to gain experience in their field
Proctor, from LaFayette, Ga., enjoyed the research and
conceptualizing required for the project.
"In interviewing a variety of people around Dahlonega,
I began to understand the Appalachian culture," Proctor said. "I
learned that the true wealth of a community is defined by the richness and
diverse traditions of its culture."
|Craig Wilson explains how the group came up with the concept for the mural.
Wilson, the assistant art professor overseeing the project,
said after compiling stacks of sketches and reams of research, the tough part for
the group was agreeing on design. After a lot of discussion, seeing images of
patchwork quilts suddenly made the subject obvious, Wilson said.
"We thought a quilt would be a great literal way to get
the students' many different styles and ideas in the piece and a perfect metaphor
for what Appalachian culture really is," he said. "Appalachian culture
is not white or black or European or native; it is a mixture, an amalgam of all
of those things."
In addition to Wilson and Proctor, students Ebony Glenn, Ann
Marie Lowman, and Jessica Locklar also worked on the project.
|Ann Marie Lowman applies color to one of the quilt squares in the mural.
Lowman of Lilburn, who plans to graduate in December with a
bachelor's degree in studio art, concentrated on the flora and fauna of the
region. All 14 states in the Appalachian region are represented in the mural in
some fashion — state flowers fill a pottery "face" jar on the porch
and official state birds, animals and insects are depicted in colorful quilt
Lowman said she learned as much about teamwork as she did
”Because each member of the group has a unique skill-set and
style, I discovered the importance of knowing and understanding each other’s
capabilities and artistic processes," Lowman said. "I loved working
with each talented member of our group."
Wilson is completing a few finishing touches to the mural,
including figuring out how to install it.
Lowman explained the physically tough
process of just determining the size and shape of the wooden pieces on which
the mural was painted included climbing ladders and hauling heavy pieces of
wood. "Although it was physically exhausting, it was a
necessary and fun experience," she said of the preparation process.