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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Mural project unites campus humanities

Student Katreeva Phillips performs a solo vocal as visiting artist Ivan Watkins and NW Campus student Bob Lynch paint.  Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian
Student Katreeva Phillips performs a solo vocal as visiting artist Ivan Watkins and NW Campus student Bob Lynch paint. Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian

By Martina Treviño/nw news editor

Students, faculty and staff from all areas of the NW Campus humanities division collaborated in the creation of “Bodies in Motion,” a mural to beautify the campus.

The Project

Student Katreeva Phillips performs a solo vocal as visiting artist Ivan Watkins and NW Campus student Bob Lynch paint.  Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian
Student Katreeva Phillips performs a solo vocal as visiting artist Ivan Watkins and NW Campus student Bob Lynch paint. Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian

The 80-by-60 foot four-part mural was completed in two weeks and will be permanently displayed on the north wall of the gymnasium in the Physical Education Building. The four sections represent sunrise, high noon, dusk and midnight, Ivan Watkins project director, said.

Watkins, an internationally renowned muralist currently teaching at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, was accompanied throughout each day by a diverse group of students and staff for the two-week workshop.

Barbara Arabian, who calls herself a perpetual student, “spent all day, every day” in the gallery, she said.
Arabian said she was happy to have the opportunity to work under Watkins’ direction and see the various divisions working together for a common goal.

“ Working on the project has been a wonderful experience,” she said.

Michelle Kaytaz, who helped paint a portion of the Tibetan Mandala, said, “The project was fantastic. I was intimidated at first, but I came in and followed my elders’ lead. That made my confidence grow. I learned how to work with the projector and to work with bold colors.”

Angel Gobel, a dance student who served as a model for the work, stretched her artistic talent to add
sparkle to her portrait with the tip of a brush handle. But she was more impressed with another aspect of the work.

“ The frog is the coolest thing; I just love it,” she said.

The Ceremonies

Students, staff, family and friends form a unity circle during the closing ceremony.  Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian
Students, staff, family and friends form a unity circle during the closing ceremony. Photo by Martina Treviño/The Collegian

Opening and closing ceremonies were accompanied by music and dance by members of various NW Campus dance companies. “Soul Fusion,” a number that progressed to an almost frantic pace and blended various afro-Cuban rhythms, was a highlight of the final day.

Beth Bontley, drama instructor on NW Campus, directed blended Seneca and Lakota Indian tribal ceremonies to open and close the workshop. Watkins is a student of the Lakota tradition, and Bontley is a student of the Seneca philosophy taught by Twylah Nitch.

Bontley began the ceremonies by burning sage, valued by Native Americans for its purification abilities.

She saluted the four directions by lighting candles and explained various symbolisms that accompanied each stage of the sun.

By the closing ceremony, many of the symbolisms were represented in the mural, including ancient and modern religious imagery. Bontley concluded both ceremonies by emphasizing the completed circle, symbolizing completeness and unity.

The Responses
Responses to the mural came in the form of dance, music and words, both spoken and signed.

A’isha Malone’s public speaking class provided a reading of short stories and poetry. Lauryn Brown, John Jimenez, William Shay and Stephanie Williams presented the words of William Butler Yeats, William
Wordsworth and Langston Hughes, among others.

The readings were interpreted into American Sign Language by NW students in the ASL program.

Katy Garber, instructor of music, directed students in vocal performances, both ensemble and solo. The performance included a quartet performance and solos of “Bless the Beast and the Children” and “Danny Boy.”

Instrumental music was also provided in response. Various students presented improvisational jazz pieces, and Richard Powell, instructor of music on NW Campus, provided live piano performances.

In addition to opening and closing performances, the dance department performed both choreographed and improvisational dances in the gallery at various times throughout the two weeks of the project.

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