This week, justArts spoke with Heleena Mathew ’15 and D’Andre Young ’15, representatives from the Campus Center Team. The two are spearheading the Campus Center Team’s mural designing contest, seeking a mural for the right wall in the Game Room of the Usdan Student Center. Submissions are due by Monday, Sept. 29.
JustArts: Can you tell me a little about the mural project?
Heleena Mathew: The game room in Usdan [Student Center] is a great space. And our boss Darryl [David ’09] and our team of supervisors had been working on ways to improve the space, make it better, make it more inclusive and make it a happier environment for everybody. And one of the things we were thinking about it was to make a mural on the wall, and initially we just wanted to make it livelier space.
And we realized this is a great opportunity for a Brandeis student—somebody can make that mural and use it to bolster their portfolio and develop themselves as an artist. And if we can help them do that then, why not? So we made it a contest. Any Brandesian can apply with a sketch and a portfolio.
D’Andre Young: I think it was just really important for this to happen, one because there have been a lot of physical changes on campus as far as the library and some of our buildings have been changed. And I think every year there’s something new going on on our campus. And then from a student standpoint, we hadn’t been as involved with the changes. So it was a cool idea to get more student involvement and to bring this idea to the students. And it will make the Game Room way livelier. And it’s a place where a lot of students spend their days when they’re not in classes. So, why not make this about them, and why not make the project about them?
JA: Have you done anything like this before?
HM: For the most part, no. This is a new thing. We just thought this would be a great idea, and this is a great project for the team to work on.
DY: It’s such a live space. Every year, we’re looking for new ideas for something to do with the game room. We’re always looking for posters. Last year, a chalkboard was put up on one of the walls in the Game Room. So there’s always something new going into the space. But I think it was most important that we got other student involvement. And we’ve always been encouraging of having art, some type of art being put on the wall.
JA: What prompted you to do a campus improvement project rather than a typical event?
HM: I think in the past our events have been kind of like a one-way type of thing—from the Campus Center Team to the campus. And we kind of wanted to do something different like a two-way communication. And if we can all work together to make the game room better, which, in the past, we’ve tried to do that on our own, why shouldn’t we?
JA: What kind of mural are you looking for?
DY: I don’t really have a vision of what mural I want right now because artists are involved, and they could bring us anything. But I think whatever has the most Brandeis involvement... whatever is the most uniquely Brandeis. So that includes things we see everyday at Brandeis but also things that we don’t necessarily recognize within our community that are character traits within our community.
HM: We want it to paint an interesting picture, a complex picture of Brandeis. But also, it’s a game room. We want it to stay fun. We want it to be lively. We want it to add to the atmosphere we worked so hard to make there.
JA: What do you hope the mural accomplishes?
HM: The Game Room has changed over the past couple years. When I was a freshman, it was kind of this blue room that people would hang out in, but really nobody really knew what was going on in there. But in the past couple of years it’s totally done a 180, and we want that momentum to keep going. And we really want the Game Room to be recognized as a space that is really for Brandeis students and managed by Brandeis students. We want it to be a unifying space for everybody.