students in front of muralJuly 30, 2019—A mural painted by Missouri Western State University students in St. Joseph’s Southside will be officially unveiled during a celebration from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 3 at the corner of Lake and Illinois in conjunction with the South St. Joseph Farmer’s Market at the Junction.

The celebration will include live music, refreshments and a chance to meet the artists who created the mural, commissioned by the South St. Joseph Development Corporation and the Allied Arts Council of St. Joseph. The project was also supported by Missouri Western’s PORTAL (Program of Research, Teaching and Applied Learning), which supports faculty projects to engage with students in learning activities outside the classroom over the summer.

The mural covers an area 80 feet wide by 20 feet high at 403 Illinois Avenue. It features Southside landmarks like Benton High School, Hyde Park, the Carnegie Library and the area’s agricultural and industrial heritage. It was designed by Kathy Liao, assistant professor of art and director of painting and printmaking.

“It has been an incredible learning experience for me and the students,” Liao said. “Through this applied learning opportunity, students engaged the community, created mural designs, presented to a panel of community organizers and experimented with various mural painting techniques. We went on field trips to Kansas City, met local mural artists and explored the mural/street art/graffiti scene through alley ways and local businesses. Most of all, students learned the significance of public art and how it transforms space, transform experiences of the people who live and work in the neighborhood.”

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit