Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

August 2, 2010

Student mural has connection to family

GOSHEN — Each year, Goshen College offers stipends to students who stay over the summer and participate in research projects through the Maple Scholars program. But this year, one student’s project connected to the college and her own history more than most.

Liz Gunden, a senior art major from Chelsea, Mich., submitted as her project a mural inspired based on photos from her experiences in the school’s Study-Service Term, or SST, program. One of the teachers working with the group, Associate Professor of Art Randy Horst, accepted her idea and agreed to work with her on it.

“All he told me was I could paint whatever I wanted, I just had to tie it into the Goshen College community in some way,” Gunden said. “So I started by deciding what I wanted to communicate, which was interconnectedness and a welcoming environment.”

She then turned to her collection of photos from her SST trip to Nicaragua. After deciding she wanted to go with a mix of abstract and representational design in the mural, she spend about two months researching and laying out the mural.

“I based it off an image of people holding hands,” she said. “And I chose to use lots of different colors and backgrounds in the single image.”

Once that was finished, she collected materials, deciding to use three plywood panes. After that, it was a three and a half week period of painting to complete it.

She admits she was confidant in the project but was unsure how it would turn out.

“When I was painting I kind of guessed on the colors, and now I like how the colors interact,” Gunden said.

Another decision still had to be made and supported — where on campus to install the mural. This is where Gunden’s story takes an interesting twist.

The Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center was chosen as the mural’s permanent location. The twist? Gunden is Gingerich’s granddaughter, although she was born a few months after he died in 1989. The rec center was named after Gingerich following his death as he had been a professor of physical education at the school for 37 years. In addition, Gingerich and his wife ran the Nicaragua SST trip in during the 1970s.

Although Gunden did not choose the location of the mural specifically because of the connection to her family, she was generally pleased with the placement. Mostly, she is focused on her future and where she will go from here.

“I will probably not be sticking around here,” she said. “I’ll probably go back to school, but I’m going to take a couple of years off first.”

Gunden hopes to get a job doing graphic design, which, along with Spanish, is her minor.

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