A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Not Your Average Art Project

By Lindsay Bernhards, BA '18 on March 13, 2019

Contemporary Mural Arts Festival. Photo by Bethany Camp

When government and international politics major Finn Fisk walked around Mason’s Fairfax Campus as a freshman, she felt that something was missing. Having come to Mason all the way from Richmond, Virginia, she was used to seeing murals all over her hometown. So, she decided to bring a little bit of Richmond to Mason.

Fisk contacted Mason’s School Art and was directed to university curator Don Russell. From that meeting came Mason’s Contemporary Mural Art Festival, aimed at fostering art appreciation and accessibility on Mason’s campuses.

Held in conjunction with the School of Art’s Provisions Research Center for Art and Social Change and Fisk’s team in the Mural Brigade club, the festival displayed several different multimedia murals that encompass a chosen theme. The populist art form attracts students of all different majors and backgrounds—and for the same reasons.

“Historically, murals have played a unique role in creative place-making and amplifying disenfranchised voices,” says Russell.

Fisk, who wants to be a social entrepreneur and improve the community through the government or nonprofit sector, says the festival has also helped her develop a strong skill set for her career aspirations.

“The skills I’m learning in the process of carrying out the festival—leadership, fundraising, and marketing, to name but a few—are invaluable skills that I can carry forward after I graduate,” Fisk says.

Fionnuala Fisk and Don Russell attending the Contemporary Mural Arts Festival. Photo by Evan Cantwell

In the long run, Russell hopes that the festival helped students understand the dynamic impact that artists have on our culture.

“Artists have the potential to play crucial roles in place-making, community development, science, technology, health care—and just about any career,” he says.

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