The Night Owl Cafe (NOC) on the second floor of the L.P. Young Student Center at Keene State College will never be the same again: It is transforming into a vibrant space.
A class called Color Design and Mural Painting is working throughout this semester to paint murals in the NOC. The class includes 20 students that are art and other majors. Keene State Art Department professor Molly Fletcher is teaching the course and leading the mural project. Fletcher said, “It’s mostly just about music, pop culture, and iconography. I am thinking about iconic albums that don’t need words for us to necessarily know what they are.”
Environmental Studies and Communication major Kristine Danielson said,
“Everyone is making different murals for different famous albums, covers and people with music and we thought what the NOC is about.” Danielson said that David Boldly, Andy Warhol, Warren Hill and Ann Halen are some of the musicians that are being painted in the NOC.
The same class painted a mural in the staircase of the Redfern Arts Center last semester.
Senior Studio Art and Graphic Design major and teacher’s assistant for the class Angela Jenks said, “I think the new location is pretty awesome.”
Fletcher said the location was offered by the Coordinator of Student Activities and Organizations Britany Gallagher. Fletcher added, “She has said, you know, ‘we were looking for some way to liven up the Night Owl and make it look a little bit like what it is which is a music venue, an entertainment space.’ And she wanted it to be very Keene State driven. We took a little bit of Keene State and added a pop culture twist to it. So we have a little bit of both things which I think worked out pretty well.”
Gallagher said, “A few years ago when I first got here, the Night Owl Cafe and the Game Room [were] both actually painted varied shades of blue and yellow. And it was interesting to me that even though those are two super popular common spaces in our Student Center at Keene State College, where school colors are red and white, it wasn’t a lot of red and white going on.”
Gallagher said that she always had a plan to get together with art students and paint those spaces.
Student worker at the NOC Hannah Stella said the mural paintings have brightened up the NOC, making it more inviting. “They ( the paintings) are a really good addition here. They also show the type of energy that’s in here that people bring because there is also game nights and all sorts of fun things always going on in the NOC. And I think that the paintings that they are doing in here just kinda portray that and that gives a better feel when you walk in,” Stella said.
Fletcher said the class started working on the mural painting right after the spring break.
“Because they are non-majors, we have to go over the basics of composition, color theory, foundations of design, and so the whole first half of the class is geared towards the foundations of designs and then switched gears, and then we have gotten here,” Fletcher said.
Jenks said for art majors, this class gives more experience and broadens their horizon.
Danielson said she really enjoys doing something that is completely out of her element.
She said, “During the day I am learning about global warming and climate, science-based things and then after this, I get to switch to more art-based things. That’s a nice end to my day.”
Fletcher said, “Even though we are all different ages and from different backgrounds, we all still kind of figure that out together.”
Fletcher has been teaching the foundations of design at KSC for the last nine years, and she is involved in a Peace Paper Mural Project, a Walldogs Mural Festival that is happening in downtown Keene this summer.
The mural at the NOC will be completed next Thursday, May 9, 2019.
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