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Diversity on Display: Museum Exhibit

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 31, 2007

Diversity Mural

This is right.

That’s one of the phrases that jumps off the canvas of the huge 15-foot by 4-foot mural that looms in the entryway of Devine Hall.

Then there’s truth; inspire; glory. And while the painting itself is worth more than all of the words, together they impart a priceless message on diversity.

The mural is the work of 14 students who, under the tutelage of artist Richard Haynes, translated their thoughts on diversity into art. Haynes is the associate director of admissions.

On Friday, an exhibit featuring a copy of the mural and prints of the individual paintings by each student opens at the University Museum. The public reception begins at 5 p.m. “The UNH Mural Project: What Does Diversity Mean to Your Generation?” will be on display from Feb. 2 through March 2.

“Richard Haynes is incredible. He was able to get students to think about pretty complex topics in ways that they’d never thought of before,” says Shannon Marthouse, assistant director of Residential Life.

The project was born when Marthouse approached Haynes about purchasing some of his artwork (http://haynesimages.com) to dress up the residence halls. Haynes suggested having students create the works themselves.

Marthouse began looking for money to fund the project; an $11,000 grant from the UNH Parents Association came through to make it happen.

Diversity Mural

Participating students were chosen from a field of applicants who vied for the chance to express themselves. The fringe benefit, Marthouse says, was getting to work with Haynes.

Haynes opened his home to students and offered workshops on the technique of his own boldly vibrant paintings. Working Saturdays and Sundays all semester, each student created a small individual piece and tried to answer the question of what diversity means to their generation. They then voted on the one that forms the heart of the large mural.

“They all came up with the words that are on each side of the mural,” Marthouse says. “Everybody worked on it.”

The students original paintings will hang in their respective residence halls while the mural itself will become a permanent moveable display.

“When Devine Hall was renovated a few years ago, a space was created to display art work,” Marthouse says. “So a large frame was installed to put the mural on. That way, when someone wants to paint something else in the space, the mural won’t be painted over; we can move it somewhere else.”

A second exhibit of the work will take place in April at the Seacoast African American Cultural Center in Portsmouth. The University Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays (semester only) from noon to 4 p.m.

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