College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) long-awaited art mural project has been officially unveiled. In a public ceremony on Thursday, April 14, the cover was pulled to reveal the College’s first public piece of art. The event, which was attended by nearly 100 people, took place in the lobby of CWI’s Micron Center for Professional Technical Education.
The mural was created over the course of six months by Boise artist Alma Gomez in her home studio. She titled the artwork Spirit of Collaboration after working with CWI students to help complete the unique project.
“Every student who came through my studio got to work on it—which was great,” Gomez said.
The mural is comprised of three large panels that cover a 12-by-7 foot space on the lobby’s entry wall. It depicts actual students in CWI’s Liberal Arts and Professional Technical Education programs. Two students who participated in the mural’s creation spoke at the event; sharing their invaluable learning experiences with the crowd.
“Art is an opportunity to share a story or share an idea,” Amy Shore said. “Getting to work with Alma was a phenomenal experience.”
“I was really able to connect with her culturally and that inspired me to create my own journey,” Teresa Gonzalez, who is also depicted in the mural, said. “Working directly with an artist helps students truly understand what an artist actually goes through.”
When asked what it is like to be captured in a permanent piece of work, Liberal Arts student Sean Renberg, also depicted in the mural, said, “It’s a huge honor to be a part of CWI history, and to know that CWI’s art department will live on forever.”
Funding for the mural project came from private donors and a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council. The project also led to the creation of an Art Advisory Committee at CWI. The committee hopes the mural will pave the way for more public works of art at CWI.