To honor the University of Michigan’s Class of 2021, 29 undergraduate students from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design created a chalk paint mural on East Washington Street in front of the Rackham Graduate School.
The mural, which took nearly five hours to paint on April 25, is on view until May 2 as part of the university’s commencement celebrations.
The project was led by Stamps alumnae Yen Azzaro and Liz Guilmet, in collaboration with the Office of the President and the Office of University Development Events.
The mural is 18 by 400 feet and includes several “flying” graduation caps set among white clouds, with a Block M and the words “Go Blue Class of 2021.”
According to project collaborators, it was created to communicate feelings of appreciation, accomplishment and an unforgettable Michigan experience to the graduating class of 2021, the broader campus community, and Ann Arbor city residents.
Azzaro, an artist, activist, illustrator and graphic recorder, said the work came together as part of a collaborative process involving students who assisted with mural design, installation or both.
Students submitted design concepts to Azzaro and Guilmet, who worked together to parse out the most viable elements, translating the work into a final design schematic.
The final design was digitally rendered into a grid and each section was led by a student who oversaw the materials, painting and team communications.
“Collaborating on this mural has been a testament to the talent and ingenuity of the students at Stamps,” Azzaro said. “Even during crunch time with finals nearing, students really stepped up to be team leads and offer a variety of concept possibilities.”
“This has been such a great project to work on with students during this time,” said Guilmet, who also is a lecturer I at Stamps. “It was a way for them to come together, to collaborate and to celebrate safely after getting through this difficult year.”
Students involved in the Stamps mural project included Abigail Rankin, Alyssa Wilcom, Ashlee Freeman, Brianna Manzor, Coco DelVecchio, Emily Holtz, Erin Walski, Huanyuan Li, Isabella Kehoe, Jaymes Walker, Kyra Koprowski, Lee Hubbel, Madisyn Hicks, Michelle Ha, Natalie Guisinger, Nicole White, Riley Parrish, Saima Siddiqui, Samuel Turner, Sarah Dettling, Shivalika Kohli, Sophia Schwartz, Stephanie Li, Valerie Le, Violet Flores, Victor Garcia, XiaoYu Che, Yasmine Elhagehassan, Younji Jin.
Visitors to this outdoor mural are expected to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering over the nose and mouth, per U-M COVID safety protocols.