Under the Sea: Mural Club Hosts Collaborative Ocean-Themed Painting Session in Sykes

Tara Phan ’24, Ahn Vu ’24, Caroline Shen ’24, Cam Manzo ’26, and Penelope Tong ’26 collaborate to complete the sea creatures and background of the mural.

Painting an underwater scene with sea creatures climbing the walls of the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center, the Mural Club began one of their first murals on campus, welcoming any community member to add to the mural.

The Mural Club has been working towards creating a platform for student artists to come together and create public artworks around campus. Caroline Shen ’24, Co-Head of Mural Club, shared the importance of murals on campus.

“I was actually inspired by my History 200 class last year, where we talked about murals and how they were able to promote important messages or foster the exploration of identities. So similarly, I think that the purpose of murals on campus is to really provide a platform to do both. Both the painting process is one where students can exercise their creative freedom and artistic expression. But at the same time, the collaborative nature of our painting process allows us to positively impact the community and our campus space,” Shen said.

This week, the club completed the backdrop and a few sea creatures on the mural. By the end of Spring Term, they aim to have the mural finished. Shen explained how the ocean-theme holds more meaning than simply a relaxing scene.

“At first, we actually didn’t have any particular theme in mind going into the painting process… In our public design session, people drew an overwhelming amount of sea organisms… But at the same time, I think that painting the sea is really a great project in general to put in public spaces because I feel like there’s so much diversity within sea organisms themselves: from shapes to sizes, to textures, to colors. So I think in general it’s a great representation of the diversity and uniqueness of students within our own community,” Shen said.

Penelope Tong ’26, an attendee of the painting session, decided to join Mural Club as an artist and highlighted the bonding aspect of the project and how it strengthened teamwork skills. Tong also noted the challenges of working on a collaborative piece with so many people.

“Although the canvas is really big, there were four or five of us working on it and sometimes we just needed to have our own space to work on things. We couldn’t all be crowded in one place, and that sometimes came up as an issue, but not that often… Everything’s kind of coming together as we paint more and more. It’s really cool to see so many artists collaborating,” Tong said.
According to Tara Phan ’24, Co-Head of Mural Club, the club plans to organize more murals on other parts of campus, such as the walls in the CaMD building and Susie’s in the future. They hope for the murals to foster campus collaboration.
“We might paint something for CaMD but this is more for the board of the Mural Club. Also, we’re planning to create some murals for Susie’s because its is pretty boring, and there’s not much color in Susie’s. So we thought that would be fun,” Phan said.