Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seigfred Mural and Graffiti Wall

When my classmate Dan Gilson suggested I visit the graffiti wall under Seigfred Hall, Ohio University's art building, in a comment on my last post, I knew I absolutely had to follow his advice.

I, having not explored my Athens surroundings too closely, often miss things, and I am grateful that someone could direct me to one of the most secluded, quiet art nooks I've now encountered.

Beneath Seigfred Hall and between it and the sculpture building, a large mural looms. It comprises half cave-style paintings in black and white mixed with something like Aztec-style imagery and jumbled text in a mural on one side with a concrete half-ampitheatre covered in student graffiti on the other.

Dara Farr, a junior photography major and my hall-mate, offered to walk with me to the site. She must enter the building upon which the mural is painted daily for her classes.

"I think someone repaints it every couple weeks," she told me of the space above the concrete stairs and seating across from the mural. Though she doesn't really know who the graffiti artists are, she says their work ranges in impressiveness.

As we rounded the corner up the stairs behind the top of Seigfred and Glidden hall, she told me that the graffiti at the top of the stairs and benches was new today.

In the cavernous space, the mural against the Sculpture building is the most overwhelming feature. As I walked inside the shadowed half-ampitheatre, I found myself bending backward, trying to take in all the intricacies of the looming mural.

The mural component of the arch/walkway takes up an outside wall of a building from ground to ceiling. It was a contribution of Ohio University professor Aethelred Eldridge who originally painted a mural there in 1966. Since, he has repainted it three times, according to an Ohio University article that explains his induction into "The Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes."

The current mural, according to the article is "a five-story, black-and-white mural, [titled] 'Neowes from Golgonooza.'"

As for the student contributions: they are obviously a bit less permanent. This week's graffiti displayed a shadowed figure standing near a cloud wearing a tie. A possible political message, "The Average American," was scrawled across the top of the wall and surrounded with stenciled gallon jugs of "H20."


Cathy said...

I never knew there was an art wall under Seigfred! I have had classes in there before, but the art wall was just something I never knew about. I'll definitely have to go check it out now, especially before I graduate.

Cassie The Venomous said...


I certainly recommend that you do. It's so serene. I'm considering making it my go-to homework-doing location when I have down-time between classes.

I never knew it was there, either. I had always entered the building from the top floor and never even gave a second thought to seeing what was on the other side.