Inspiration often arrives at the unlikeliest times and places. Just ask Deborah DiFranco, the Provost’s Liaison, who noticed one day that students had drawn some graffiti on a wall in the lower level of the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library.
Instead of reacting negatively to this act of vandalism, she had an idea: turn the students’ urge to draw into a sprawling mural made up of representative scenes from the University. She told Kevin Kelly, executive director of the Faculty Student Association, and Building Manager Jim Lapiano, about her idea. Both approved the project.
“One of the reasons I thought of this was because of all of the feedback I had heard about people not being able to find my office, and how spooky and dark it was down here,” DiFranco said. So she thought that one way to address that problem was by adding color.
She contacted Stony Brook studio art major Sophia Dang, a natural choice because Dang had previously worked on large mural projects in New York City neighborhoods. In June 2010 DiFranco commissioned Dang to sketch ideas for a mural to span the length of the hallway.
Dang created a Facebook page to recruit other artists to assist her on the project and attracted roughly 25 artists, including students from the Office of the Provost’s Liaison.
The project began in July 2010 and was completed just before the start of the spring 2011 semester.
The mural features panel after panel of Stony Brook traditions and sights, such as a surreal version of the Roth Regatta, Wolfie breaking through a stack of bricks, and students lounging by the Staller Center steps. On the bricks that set each panel apart, the artists have included the titles of works of classic literature that might appear in the University curriculum.
Financial contributors to the mural project include the Alumni Association, Athletics, Campus Dining Services, Career Center, Office of the Dean of Students, Department of Art, Faculty Student Association, FedEx Office, The School of Journalism, and the University Bookstore.
The artists are the following: Christopher Ahearn, Ali Ahmad, Chantilly Berrios, Elizabeth Carre, Christopher Carroll, Andrea Caruso, Kristen Connelly, Amanda Corrigan, Michael Cusanelli, Thomas Cusanelli, Sophia Dang, William Deruiter, Shraddha Desai, Stephanie Desimone, Joselyn Escajadillo, Frank Fanizza, Alexander Felicier, Clement Sebastien Fournier, Alex Iosub, Anielisa Jones, James Kim, Ji Soo Kim, Sunny Ko, Thoe Michaelos, Roneil Miller, Jimmy Niravathu, Talia Pulcini, Natsue Sakurai, Yuan Sunni Tang, and Chi Zhang.