A new mural created by students in Humanities 120 in the Spring 2019, taught by Ken Keffer, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of French and German Emeritus, is now on display in the new Northside Residence Hall.
The purpose of painting the mural is to display how the hasty experience of outdoor painting could be merged with a group’s efforts to copy a cherished building on Centre’s campus—Old Centre.
“This allows an interesting blend of highly personal and highly public art,” Keffer said. “For this project, Old Centre is the equivalent of a Mediterranean landscape captured by Impressionists or the ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ painted by Renoir in 1881.”
Keffer said the course normally includes study of painting, especially the Italian masters and their successors.
“I like to paint outdoors, so I thought I’d have my students take an active approach to this art inspired from the Italians,” he added. “I constructed 24 easels from Sapele wood, gathered enough brushes and acrylics for 24 painters and set aside an hour and a half session of the course for the mural.”
Twenty-two students were a part of the creation of the mural. Keffer solicited the painting help of Milton Reigelman, Cowan Professor of English, Emeritus, and Kyle Anderson. He also had an invisible student in the course, as painter Sheldon Tapley, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Art, hovered over the project. Tapley first encouraged Keffer in projects like this in 1995.
“The highest art is music,” Keffer said. “Mural projects like this—where the students paint and I direct—are my only opportunity to direct an orchestra.”
Three other similarly inspired murals are displayed across campus, including 2010, “Luncheon of the Boating Party” in Cowan and 2013, “Dance at the Moulin de la Galette” and 2003, “Luncheon of the Boating Party” in the Combs Center.
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 28, 2019