Painting Princeton: Community mural highlights history, celebrates change

Painting Princeton: Community mural highlights history, celebrates change


[MUSIC PLAYING] IAGO ROBERTSON-LAVALLE: Butler
College actually brought in an artist, Will Kasso. And he’s here to help
us paint a mural. And we’re going to be
putting it in Butler College, here at Princeton. We actually gathered, I’d
say, around 15 students in order to conceptualize
this project. And we talked about issues
that have happened on campus as well as great forms of change
that have happened on campus. TJ SMITH: The process
was really interesting. I found it really, really fun
to be in a small workshop group and just be able to throw things
out there, sketch things out. To have the white men
kind of spreading apart to have a black woman
coming forward — because we’re having the
50th anniversary of Princeton admitting women, so
we thought that that was a really important thing
to include in some way, shape, or form. IAGO ROBERTSON-LAVALLE:
It’s not every day that you get a
chance to, I think, leave your mark on
Princeton University. So for me it was an opportunity
that I could not miss. WILL KASSO CONDRY: Most
of our environments are these stark, really
bland environments. As soon as you start to
put up color and artwork, it opens people’s minds up. Think about ancient
civilizations like Rome, Greece, Egypt. Everything was
painted — everything. We looking at it now thousands
of years later in these ruins. But everything was painted — inside, outside. And these were some of the
most enlightened civilizations of our time. The majority of my early
work has been in Trenton. When I would go
out and paint, you will automatically — when
you’re doing public work, you’re going to draw attention. Typically when you go
into a neighborhood that you’re not from,
people are going to be apprehensive about
you, regardless of what your intentions are there. So you bring people to you. You let them know
what you’re doing and take their ideas into
consideration as well. And that’s the start of it. You have to be social in
doing community murals and doing public art. It’s an opportunity
for me to educate them and also to be educated
about the area. Because there’s certain things
that I may not know that are pivotal to the
outcome of the product. It’s basically like the
students wrote a script. And me as the illustrator,
I illustrate the script. And then we all have a hand at
producing the final product. So five days later, I feel
I’ve made some new friends. And I hope they
feel the same way. TJ SMITH: I think I bring
something that’s inherently me and is only my perspective
as an international, as a queer person,
as a white person, as all these identities that
I have mingling within myself. So I was really excited
to have the opportunity to add something to the
campus that is tangible and that you could see. IAGO ROBERTSON-LAVALLE: I was
very surprised and happily surprised, I would say,
that students took this as an opportunity not only to
show their artistic talents, but also to send messages that
they would like to send maybe to the University or to
peers here at Princeton. WILL KASSO CONDRY: You know,
art is that missing link when you’re talking about
building community relations. What we’re doing is bringing
awareness to a history that most have no
idea that took place. And whether they
love it or hate it, it’s going to initiate
a conversation. And then that’s the
basis of any change is just you have to communicate. [MUSIC PLAYING]

2 thoughts on “Painting Princeton: Community mural highlights history, celebrates change

  1. Hello sir,
    I am from India I just passed my senior secondary exam.
    I want to get into Princeton for undergraduate courses.
    How can I get into the Princeton University.
    Please suggest me sir

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