After the Tulsa Community College (TCC) Art Department relocated from the Main Academic Building to the C4C, several members of the department commented on the interior of the building.
“Words like ‘boring’ and ‘sterile’ may have been used,” said Dewayne Pass, associate professor of art.
With the building’s fifth anniversary approaching, Center for Creativity Dean Annina Collier asked the art and design faculty if they would be interested in creating a permanent work in celebration.
“There were several conversations about what we could do with the building, with quite a few people involved. Annina Collier, Bill Derrevere, Ken Wood, and Rhonda Davis all contributed to the project,” said Pass.
Collier said via email, “The C4C is obviously a beautiful facility, and we are all so lucky to work and learn here. We’re always looking for ways to showcase the creativity of our students and faculty, and the long white hallways and stairwells are a perfect canvas for artists.”
The discussions eventually led the group to consider a mural, and they settled on the north-facing wall of the second floor stairwell.
“The stairwell gets great natural light,” Collier expanded, adding that they hoped to draw people into the building with the mural’s visibility from the street.
The wall, originally bare but for two structural beams, provided the largest canvas in the building. The mural, constructed of two different kinds of foam, takes full advantage of the 65-foot-long space.
Pass explained the team used colors and architectural shapes to pay tribute to Tulsa’s Art-Deco history. They also used a topographical section of the riverbed to incorporate the city’s location on the Arkansas River.
Collier pointed out that an important part of the mission of the C4C was to “foster collaborations, between the academic divisions in the building, with others across TCC, and with the community.”
Collier said they got great support of the project from Metro Provost Greg Stone as well as Director of Physical Facilities Steven Cox and others in the Physical Facilities department.
The group also wanted to involve the Tulsa Fab Lab, using the lab’s Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment to create the vertical elements of the mural.
Pass said, “Ken Wood did the programming for that.”
Wood added the piece is “really a celebration of this area of Tulsa, and a mixture of old and new.”
The mural is ecologically friendly as well. The square works at either end of the mural were leftover shipping blocks for the larger pieces of architectural foam. Pass said those works were all created by art department students. “We didn’t give them much guidance, other than it should be three-dimensional and fun.”
“We’ve received lots of positive feedback and appreciative comments from students and staff,” Pass commented. He hopes to have the installation completed by the end of the semester.