A 24-foot tall mural, Depth of Humanity, created by four Allan Hancock College students will be mounted and unveiled on campus during a special ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
A 24-foot tall mural, Depth of Humanity, created by four Allan Hancock College students will be mounted and unveiled on campus during a special ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

A movement to enrich the cultural and intellectual life on the Allan Hancock College campus will take a giant step forward this month when a mural created by four students will be unveiled. The college will present a mural called Depth of Humanity that was created by Hancock art students Derick Edwards, Patrick Tuason, Steve Palomer and Daniel Fuentes. The art measures 24-feet tall and eight-feet wide. It will be hung on the northwest wall of building M, the college’s Math and Science Complex on the Santa Maria campus. The unveiling ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place Tuesday, Nov.8, at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s surreal to think artwork we labored over for almost two years will be forever displayed on campus,” said Edwards, a Pioneer Valley High School graduate. “It’s a tremendous honor.”

The mural is the result of collaboration between the Allan Hancock College Foundation, Santa Maria Arts Council, the college’s fine arts department and Art on Campus Subcommittee.

“Public art, especially student art, makes the college more welcoming,” said Bob Nichols, ceramics instructor and co-chair of the Art on Campus Subcommittee. “Public art creates a deeper interaction with the places where we study, work and live. We firmly believe art makes our college more engaging, and visually and intellectually stimulating.”

Under the guidance of John Hood, a college art professor, the vision and creative talents of this crew of student painters resulted in a dynamic use of color and surrealistic imagery.

“We really gave students free reign, and they delivered,” said Hood, a member of the college’s Art on Campus Subcommittee that is organizing the event. “When the artwork is unveiled it will bring it to life. I hope it sparks provocative discussion, enhances our institutional pride and helps further define our college.”

The mural depicts a woman’s face superimposed over a turquoise and magenta background. Her free-flowing hair swirls downward 20 feet morphing into floating betta fish. The figures appear to be submersed in an ocean filled with bubbles and an octopus clutching a sword and hourglass in its tentacles.

“I am very proud of the fish because I just went with the flow. I love how vibrant the colors turned out,” added Edwards. “Originally, I started with a koi, but I changed my mind. I’m glad I did.”

The committee will also unveil a landscape painting called Madonna, created by art student Oscar Pearson that will be hung inside the Administration building near the boardroom. Madonna illustrates the chain of mountains and hills in San Luis Obispo County known as The Seven Sisters.

“To have my art selected to be displayed on campus is very reaffirming,” said Pearson. “I am inspired to paint landscapes not because it belongs to us, but because we belong to the land.”

Edwards and Pearson hope the unveiling ceremony is just the beginning of the college publicly displaying its appreciation for unique student and faculty art.

“I love the idea. I hope it is just the start of something great,” said Edwards. “I hope art created by students and faculty begins to spring up throughout campus and the city of Santa Maria.”

“It gives students a chance to push their work to a professional level of quality and craft,” added Pearson. “Now, we can share the beauty and interest of local art faculty and students with the entire school and community. Hopefully, we can help elevate the art program at Hancock, and enrich everyone’s experience on campus.”

The Art on Campus committee plans to unveil a large ceramic mural piece created by Nichols in spring 2017.