Mural connects minds of students, community

Chloe Chapel

Discrimination, trauma, depression and anxiety can make students feel helpless and alone, but it’s brought a community to campus. 

Mental health used to be a taboo topic that wasn’t discussed much. However, it now seems to be a topic that is welcomed and even appreciated. 

College students often struggle with their mental health but have no outlet to express their concern or no way to hear from other students that have similar problems. 

In Honors Art, students had to propose a topic to show what they learned in the class. The class was on the power of art in politics and social movements. 

After much discussion and debate, the students agreed on talking about mental health and decided that a mural displayed in the middle of campus would be a perfect way to convey their message. 

This is when the #mindthemind mural was born. 

Brooke Foy, an art professor, said the mural allowed students to speak to and connect with fellow students, administration and the community. 

“Art is a perfect vehicle to say what may be hard to verbalize,” Foy said. “The piece is meant to inspire, educate and support.” 

The mural was a collaborative piece between two art classes—Honors Art and Art and Entrepreneurship—so it depicted the feelings of many people. 

While some students talked about their own mental health problems, others did it as a tribute to someone else. 

Blaine Warren, a senior political science major, came up with his idea as an ode to his sister. 

“My idea […] was a young lesbian feeling ostracized, but eventually finding value within herself, and soon thereafter finding a partner,” Warren said. “I wanted the butterfly to represent her evolution from a girl who can’t accept herself and isn’t accepted by those around her into a woman who is proud and happy.” 

Warren said he chose this because he loves his sister dearly but knows that some people will never accept her because of her sexuality. He wanted to show her that no matter who she loves, he will always love her. 

Amir Alnajjar, a freshman computer science major, took a different approach with his art. 

Alnajjar’s art depicts three cats sitting together and looking peaceful while another cat is trying to grasp onto them but is held back by a leash that has the word “trauma” on it. 

He said the art allowed him an outlet to talk about something he’s struggled with and is passionate about. 

“For me, the art was my own struggle that I wanted to put on paper,” Alnajjar said. “Mental health is also a very important thing to me, so the fact that we were doing a project on something I was already passionate about was just an awesome feeling.” 

Students loved the idea of helping others but felt discouraged because they could not help in a more significant way. They didn’t want something just for people to look at, they wanted to help provide a solution. 

They decided to partner with the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, which provides people with mental health services. 

Next to the #mindthemind mural was a smaller banner with information about the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority and a hotline. 

“With the combination of the art and the signs, we hope people reach out if they need to,” Alnajjar said.