The first thing you notice is the swirl of vibrant colors and the larger-than-life figures, chosen to visually mark the university’s 150-year history. Created by students in art professor Jennifer Moses’ intermediate painting class as part of UNH’s yearlong sesquicentennial celebration, the Dimond Library mural “Land, Sea, and Space” was unveiled in December.
Moses’s class spent the beginning of the semester discussing possible themes for the project and conducting research on how best to artistically present UNH’s rich past on the 63-by-10-foot “canvas” of Dimond 201, the Natural Science Resource Center. Once a consensus was reached to root the work in the university’s land-grant mission, the students came up with a list of people they thought should be portrayed and then a design for the piece, which Moses notes represents a hybrid of many initial proposals.
“After the initial phase was over of trying to plan what to paint, and we all just went with our artistic intuition, the mural started to paint itself, really,” says Kyra Grasso ’19, a dual major in studio arts and biomedical sciences. “I would definitely say that the perspective this project has given us has enhanced our skills as artists tenfold.”
The project also challenged students’ creative stamina. Grasso’s fellow artist Sidney Stevens ’17 estimates the group put in around 70 hours per week to meet their project deadline. “What is important about my experience is the time spent with my classmates and the fact that we made it through this process together,” Stevens says. “This was the cherry on top of a stressful college career, and I am proud of what we accomplished.”
Individuals portrayed on the mural include Lee Morin ’74, a NASA astronaut who traveled to the International Space Station; C. Floyd Jackson, UNH’s first marine scientist and 1928 founder of the marine laboratory on Appledore Island; Edwin and Mary Scheier, mid-century modern potters who taught at UNH for 20 years; Clark Terry, professor of music and internationally renowned jazz trumpet player; Caroline A. Black, a botanist and the first female professor at UNH, and Yitang Zhang, the math professor who received a 2014 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for his work on the twin prime conjecture.
Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2017 Issue