ORU Artists left their mark on Hamilton Elementary School and the youth of Tulsa on Sept. 30, 2017. After around seven hours of painting, the finished mural depicts a scenic view just outside Tulsa city limits.
Painted in bright blues and greens, the mural shows the school’s mascot, aptly named “Husky,” heading from his home into a city in the distance. A wooden sign stands next to the path, encouraging Husky to stay healthy, work hard, have fun, be curious, give back and show compassion. The mural is painted at the back of the school where the elementary students have their recess time and the finished product can be viewed on ORU Artists’ Instagram, (@oruartists).
“The elementary student is represented by their mascot, the Husky,” said Brittany Willcoxin, junior Graphic Arts major. “The Husky takes on this journey from his house, which is represented by the mailbox, and journeys to the city, learning many life lessons. The city represents the world.”
ORU Artists advertised the painting of the mural as an outreach opportunity and encouraged fellow ORU students to join. Many students who were not art majors showed up to be part of this project, and a total of 20 students helped bring the vision into reality.
“An Engineering major doesn’t let you take an Art minor, so joining the art club was my only way out to art,” said Martha Kilala, a sophomore Engineering major. “Doing an art mural for an outreach is a beautiful idea.”
The school gave the ORU artists a list of things they wanted on the mural and the artists incorporated their requests by telling a short story with their painting. ORU Artists strives to reach out to the Tulsa community by bridging the gap between ORU and the rest of the city with art.
“[We were] able to fulfill part of the vision, as ORU artists, which is to use our artistic ability to help our community and also include people who may not be art majors in it as well,” Wilcoxin said. “It was the first time doing a mural, so it was a learning experience.”
After the mural was finished, ORU Artists and fellow volunteers all held hands and prayed over the walls as well as the children who will be playing there.
“It was such a God-given opportunity and such a beautiful way to love the community,” said Brooklyn Spille, a junior Graphic Design major.
ORU Artists and volunteers were able to give back to the community in a way that also built community, and their experience and legacy will not be soon forgotten.
“[You] don’t have to be an artist to do this,” Kilala said, encouraging others to join ORU Artists regardless of major. “Just know how to color in between the lines. It’s giving a service and giving up your time to do this for other people because doing something like this won’t benefit you, but you know at the end of the day, it’s going to bring joy to people.”