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October 18, 1999

Students put colorful countenance on Cowell quad

By Barbara McKenna

What started as a brainstorming session has blossomed into a brilliant 13- by 25-foot mural on the side of a Cowell residential house.

Photo of the Maternal Tree mural
The Maternal Tree mural was designed to make Cowell College a welcoming place. (View photo of artists.)
The mural, titled The Maternal Tree, was conceived and brought about by people affiliated with Cowell College, most of whom were members of Cowell's Multi-Cultural Advisory Board.

The idea originated during a meeting of students who wanted to find ways to make the college feel as welcoming as possible to a diverse group of people. The group settled on the idea of a mural that would represent a diversity of cultures and beliefs.

Once the idea received support from the Cowell Assembly (a quorum of Cowell students, faculty, and staff), and the funding was in place, mural committee members called the Santa Cruz Art League for recommendations on area artists.

Last spring, after interviewing a number of artists, the group settled on artists Ralph D'Oliveira, who graduated from Oakes in 1977, Guillermo Aranda, and Lorena Castillo. The trio designed the mural based on student input and set about painting it this fall with student help. By the time the project was completed last week, more than 100 students had lent a hand in the painting process.

A celebration and dedication will take place as part of Cowell's College Night on Thursday, October 21. The event includes dinner, a presentation by the artists, and a concert and dessert reception.

The program is free and open to the public. The dinner costs $3 to $5 and advance reservations are required for the dinner only. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., followed at 6:45 p.m. by the presentation and dedication. Performing at the dedication will be the Latin American music ensemble Chuchumbé. For dinner reservations or more information, call (831) 459-2255.

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