The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

WTF: Tunnel decor little more than paint

Ulmer, Jessica

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In 1982 one group of art students took a school project to a different level – instead of painting canvases, they tackled a hallway on campus.

The end result was the sea mural painted in the tunnel between the University Center and the Lucas Administrative Building.

Former Northern Kentucky University professor Howard Storm and four of his art students (Teresa Padgett, Dennis Beckner, Craig Davis and Robert Moore) painted the sea-life mural 25 years ago.

With Storm’s guidance, the group started by brainstorming ideas of what they would like to see cover the concrete hallway.

In an attempt to create contrast from the university architecture, Padgett and his fellow students chose an aquatic theme.

Although the piece doesn’t have an official name, Storm said the students referred to it as the fantasy under the sea mural.

“There wasn’t any deep meaning behind it,” Storm said. “We were just trying to liven up the hallway.”

Padgett agreed with Storm.

“It’s not stiff and solid like the buildings on campus,” Padgett said in the Sept. 1, 1982 issue of The Northerner.

Back when the university was adding to the concrete jungle, its mascot was a sea serpent. For that reason, the students used its mythic home as the basis for the mural.

Storm said though the venture was for fun, the students supplied most of the paint and were graded on the project.

“Part of the project was teaching the students to work collaboratively; to work together,” Storm said. “Only some were able to let go of their egos.”

Today the vibrant colors still paint an underwater picture. Sea-grasses, bright fish, a wrecked ship and a nude mermaid make the journey to the Bursar a oceanic adventure.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
WTF: Tunnel decor little more than paint