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Painters Poised for Unique Mural Project

Providence, R.I. -- A photograph by a Providence College student-athlete, showing three cross country runners in competition, has been turned into a mural, 12 feet wide and 7 feet high, that will be painted by visitors attending Alumni & Family Weekend, February 10-12.

The mural was designed by Peter Tigler, an artist in Santa Monica, Calif., as part of the College’s SPORT:ART  celebration, a two-month series of lectures, programs, films, and exhibits exploring the links among sport, art, and identity.

Alumni, students, families, and guests are invited to take turns painting the mural in the Ruane Atrium of the Concannon Fitness Center on Saturday, February 11, from noon to 2 p.m. The mural also will be a backdrop to a reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of women’s athletic programs at the College.  

Tigler created the mural from a photograph taken by Dominic Channon ’13 (Nelson, New Zealand), a member of the cross country and track and field teams. Channon, a studio art major with a concentration in photography, studied in a seminar course last fall with Eric E. Sung, assistant professor of photography.

Channon’s photo shows three cross country runners -- Emily Sisson ’14 (Chesterfield, Mo.), Hannah Davidson ’12 (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), and Laura Nagel ’14 (Napier, New Zealand) -- when they took the top three places at the Bryant University Nassaney Invitational in September.

Tigler added the student-athletes to representations of runners from an ancient Greek vase painting to show that “a foot race is still a pure and elemental sport that connects us to an ancient past.” 

“In this mural-making, the ancient art of color-by-number meets the high-tech method of finger paint,” said Tigler. “People dab the paint on with their fingers and follow a color-by-number scheme. It is not a grid, more like a topographical map.”

Painters will receive a small cup with a number or letter on it. They will match the number or letter to the mural surface and “dab away,” Tigler said. Acrylic paint is used and there will be “a wash-up area for a clean getaway.”

When the mural is completed, the surface will look “chaotic and messy” up close, Tigler said, but when the viewer steps back, “the image becomes very distinct.”

Each space on the mural is about a half-inch square, making for more than 24,000 squares, Tigler said.

Student photography on display

Channon was one of five students who studied with Sung. The students were issued press credentials and given access to student-athletes during games and practices. They shot more than 20,000 images.

“Each and every student took a different approach and a diverse group of photographs came out of it,” said Sung, a former sports photographer.

A selection of the student photographs opened February 26 and will remain on display in the Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery through March 22 as part of SPORT:ART. In addition to Channon, the photographers are Shannon Pustis ’13 (Shrewsbury, Mass.), a field hockey player; Andrew Sayer ’15 (San Diego, Calif.), a lacrosse player; Michael Dineen ’14 (Old Greenwich, Conn.), and Jessica Ho ’14 (Bayside, N.Y.).

Channon understands the links between sport and art firsthand.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the aesthetics of running,” Channon said. “Going through high school, there were always a lot of photographs being taken of our races, and I’d look at the images. I took a drawing class and I would do drawings that would relate to running. To take a camera and create an image with that purpose is quite nice.”  

Channon, whose disciplined schedule includes an 8- to 10-mile run every afternoon, said art helps to keep his life in balance.

“Running is very exact, precise, disciplined. Art is more creative,” Channon said. “I think it balances out quite well. I could become too focused on my running, and it would hurt my art. I could become too relaxed in my ways, and it would hurt my running.”

Tigler, the mural artist, will be at the College to supervise the mural painting. He also will teach a master class for the Department of Art and Art History about the mural process on February 8.

Tigler said he creates about three murals a year and has completed about three dozen since 2002. They have been commissioned by museums, cities, colleges, and corporations. The PC mural will be his fourth at a college and his second in Rhode Island. He created one at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010.


--Vicki-Ann Downing



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