Support for Campus Improvements Spotlight

MuralThe Poets' Wall Mural Project 

Just as mixing red and blue will produce purple, a combination of funds for course development, visiting artists, and our own enthusiastic students resulted in a beautiful new mural for the Whittier College campus.  

Made possible through grants from the Andrew W. Mellon & W.M. Keck Foundations, the Poets’ Wall mural project began with the development of a new course: Political Art in Contemporary Latin American History. The team-taught pair, taught by Professor Deborah Norden (Political Science) and Professor José Orozco (History), investigated the intersections between art and politics in Latin America and the Latin American population in the United States. 

As part of the course, students participated in the design and execution of a mural led by famed artistic duo East Los Streetscapers, Wayne Healy and David Botello. Works produced by this team are among the most iconic of the Los Angeles mural scene. They have been featured artists at museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Getty. Healy and Botello both actively participated in the course through lectures and facilitated discussions amongst the students, course faculty, and members of the Whittier College community regarding the mural themes and design on the east wall of Villalobos Hall. The mural, formally dedicated in October 2012, pays tribute to Whittier’s rich history and celebrates its future-- our youth. 

About the Poets' Wall Mural:

  • The black cat featured in the bottom right of the mural is modeled after artist David Botello’s cat.
  • The image of the young child holding out the seeds of tomorrow is based on a portrait of artist Wayne Healy’s grandson.
  • Friday the Squirrel was not part of the original mural design. A Whittier College staff member saw the mural in progress and shared the story of Friday with the artists.
  • Forty gallons of paint were used
  • It took 260 hours to complete.
  • Thirty Whittier College volunteers participated in the painting including students, faculty, and President Sharon Herzberger herself!

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