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Students Paint a Picture of Community in New Murals

From campus to town, colorful brushstrokes underline the Graceland and Lamoni community 



October 17, 2023 | jns

Murals paint a picture of community, and several Graceland students took to the walls to express the connection between the University and Lamoni by turning those walls into artwork for everyone in town to enjoy. 

Mural Adorns New Lamoni Food Pantry Space  

When the Lamoni Food Pantry settled into their new and more accessible location on Main Street last year, the Pantry Board wanted to make sure to create an inviting, welcoming space. 

Food Pantry Director Gwen Simpson approached Graceland Associate Professor of Art Karen Gergely, MFA, who gladly followed the call with her Art and Social Change class students. They visited the site and put their creative heads together. Art major and Lamoni local Maudie McKiernan ’25 and professor Gergely then finalized the design. Jen Abraham-White and students Alessio Conterno ’23, Harrison Lee ’23, Jacey Lewis ’25, Mackinna Liedtke ’23 and Teri Foster ’25 helped turn it into a colorful celebration on the pantry walls. The mural also reminds of all the hands and hearts behind the Food Pantry who continue to make its services possible.

Library Mural Sponsored by Student Senate Competition 

In Graceland blue and gold, another mural is adding color and artistic spirit to the Lamoni Public Library. Inspired by the university’s honeycomb and yellowjacket theme, sophomore Grace Testerman ’26 wanted to create not just a decorative but interactive backdrop for all bookworms and Graceland fans.

The idea for a design competition came out of the Art and Social Change class and was quickly made possible with the support of Student Senate. Grace had an idea and connected with her Graceland University alumna and graphic designer mom. In an artistic collaboration over FaceTime, they came up with a digital version of the winning design. Gergely’s art students Brenee Barrett ’24, Cassie Cooks ’24, Emily Feagins ’26, Cam South ’26 and Kayla Watanabe ’24 then picked up the paint brushes and helped bring it to life on the library wall.

Now it’s on you to complete the picture: snap your selfie with the murals! Be sure to tag @GracelandUniversity and @GracelandU_art so we can share it.

Where To Find These Murals 

Check out the pinned spots below for directions (links to Google Maps)

 Grace Testerman’s Mural in Frederick Madison Smith Library 

Art and Social Change Mural in Lamoni Food Pantry 

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