College of Western Idaho (CWI) is preparing to celebrate the arrival of a unique work of art. For the past several months, Boise artist Alma Gomez and students taking Art classes at CWI have been working to create a one-of-a-kind painted mural. The artwork will be the College’s first public piece of art, and will be a significant addition to CWI's campus.
“The idea (for this project) came from our Visiting Artist program—a program that brings an artist every year to our campus to have a lecture and hold a workshop,” Goran Fazil, CWI art instructor, said. “Knowing that in the past Alma painted murals at different locations, including Boise State University, we decided to ask if she would be interested in painting a mural for our College.”
Called Spirit of Collaboration, this project has been a true learning process for students from beginning to end. Students in Fazil’s drawing and design classes started working with Gomez in her studio in October. Every other week, new groups of students visited the studio to work side-by-side with her. They participated in the process starting with the very first pencil stroke.
“We were able to see the initial stages of work on the full-scale project,” one student wrote on a classroom discussion board. “It was an excellent real-life preview of what a professional artist does.”
The mural is comprised of three separate panels. It depicts actual students in the Liberal Arts and Professional Technical Education programs. By the time the mural is complete at the end of March, approximately 100 CWI students will have helped Gomez with the painting.
“I have been to galleries before… but I have never been to an artist studio,” another student wrote. “To see inside (her studio) was really cool. I loved how she incorporated many aspects of CWI into one painting, and her different uses of perspective… it was an experience I will always remember.”
“This has been a great experience for the students,” Fazil said. “They got to work on something that will be here forever.”
Funding for the mural came from grants from the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, the Idaho Humanities Council, and a private donor. The artwork, which will have a permanent home at CWI’s Micron Center for Professional Technical Education, will be officially unveiled in a ceremony on Thursday, April 14. The event starts with an artist lecture at 6 p.m. The mural unveiling and a reception will immediately follow. For more information, contact [email protected].