Rocky Mountain College prides itself on student involvement and the many opportunities it provides on campus. Given this attitude, it seems odd that we don’t have any student art permanently displayed on campus. One student wants to change this.
Ryn Haaversen, a junior, recently put together a collaborative mural on display in the Student Union Building (SUB). Haaversen put a lot of thought into the project when she decided what she wanted to be depicted in the work.
“The scene has to do with the typical Montana landscape as seen from Billings and from Rocky, and that is why it’s in Rocky colors.” said Haaversen. “I’m a huge fan of topophilia, which means ‘a strong love of place’ and Rocky has that strong sense of place. I wanted to memorialize that. I looked at it as a way to push the boundaries of getting student artwork shown on campus, and by making it collaborative all the students that helped paint it now have a sense of ownership with it.”
Twenty-nine students, including Haaversen, contributed to the mural. Unfortunately, the mural will be taken down at the end of the semester.
“When I tell other students, especially ones who worked on it, that the piece will be gone at the end of the year, they’re disappointed it won’t be up for longer,” Haaversen explained.
It is likely that the mural will be placed in storage in Tech Hall among other pieces that have been abandoned there. There are many places where the work could be displayed on our campus, and it should be displayed. The fact of the matter is, there is not a reason it needs to be taken out of public viewing. We should be proud that our students came together to create something beautiful and that they want it to be displayed. It even gives prospective students another view of what the Rocky Mountain College community is truly about, coming together.
“Painting just a section of this mural made me realize how strong the bond created by art is,” said RMC student Elena Kreiner. “Everyone who collaborated on this project feels a sense of pride in it and those who walk by it in the sub remark on how it makes the space much more lively. The SUB is honestly lacking in visual stimulation and this mural brightens up the space and the mood of everyone who sees it.”
Our campus has no shortage of places to display the mural, so why must it come down? Many of the contributors live in our residence halls, so it could be displayed in one of them. This gives residents an opportunity to see what they worked on and adds a little personal touch to the halls. Another option for the mural could be the far wall of the library, it is subtle enough that it would not ruin the calm atmosphere of the library. However, the ideal placement for this mural is the SUB. Keeping the mural in the sub allows it to be accessible to anyone who is in the building.
Shannon Fisher, another RMC junior who contributed to the piece stated, “Helping Ryn with her mural was so amazing. Her design was beautiful, yet simple for those of us who aren’t art majors. What she is adding to it herself, just brings the whole mural together. I believe that her art and the project itself, brings happiness and love to the Student Union Building.”
With the amount of student support the piece of art has received, it would be a shame to hide the piece away. Showing what students can accomplish at Rocky Mountain College should not just include academics and sports, but every aspect of student life. The community should be able to see that, and it should start with the mural that Ryn Haaversen coordinated.
Contributors to the mural include: Terry Anthony, Bridget Baugh, Victoria Baxter, Gretchen Carlson, Candice Cope, Olivia Crayton, Kristin Delgado, Jessica Ellsworth, Shannon Fisher, Sarah Haines, Roman Jones, Sam Kelley, Stormy Knerr, Elena Kreiner, Heather McCoy, Mikale Miller, Morgan Myers, Michelle Rainy, Monika Rock, Shawntell Rodriguez, Lydea Schneider, Taylor Statz, Jordyn Talbot, Marissa Thompson, Sarah Vainio, April Wood, Lindsay Wyrick, and Kara Yarger.
For more information about Haaversen’s work, check out the Artist Statement that is displayed next to the mural.