Art students unveil new mural at UA Little Rock

June 3-9, 2024

By Angelita Faller

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has unveiled a colorful and fun new student-led mural that is meant to bring inspiration to the university’s art students. 


The mural was revealed to the public May 6. It is located in the artWING living and learning community, an area of West Hall that houses art majors. 


“This is a student-led mural that is inspired by (French Visual Artist) Henri Matisse,” said Sunny Jenkins, a junior studio art major with an emphasis in illustration and community leader for artWING. “Henri did a lot of collage work later in life. The mural text, “Creativity Takes Courage,” is a quote from Henri Matisse.” 


A half dozen students worked on the mural together for a month before it was revealed. 


“We wanted the mural to be bright and colorful and accessible to students with all levels of skill,” Jenkins said. “Even though we are all art majors, we are not all painters, and we wanted everyone to have a chance to jump in.” 


Macey McLaughlin, a freshman studio art major with an emphasis in illustration, hopes the mural will serve as an inspiration for art majors when they feel overwhelmed or burned out. 


“I want people to look at the mural and think it’s fun and vibrant,” McLaughlin said. “We have a lot of artists who live in the community, and we need a pick me up once in a while. Now it’s right in our living room.” 


Aidan Pianalto, a studio art major with an emphasis in graphic design, helped plan the mural. 


“It was fun to work on the mural,” he said. “It would be fun if we made every blank wall a mural, and there are a lot of blank walls around here.” 


Yvette Palmer, an academic advisor for humanities and arts majors, was impressed with the students’ creativity. 


“The mural is very creative,” Palmer said. “It’s colorful, and it makes me happy. Creativity really does take courage because you put yourself out there to try something new.”