If you have ever visited the Graduate College of Social Work, you most likely have come across artwork inside the building facing the entrance. This mural was created when the new dean of the College, Dr. Ira C. Colby, joined the University in the Fall semester of 1999. At this time, Dr. Colby connected with artist, Reginald Adams, with the vison of the artwork being surrounded around the Social Work college opening new doors of possibilities in the community and the social services. It was meant to capture the journey of the students who graduated and went into the community to contribute to various organizations. Adams describes, “The idea was that we are all ‘pulling together” - the title of the mural- in that narrative around the University’s values and objectives”.
Adams started to visualize people pulling together, hence the chains included in the artwork. The Mural shows everyone pulling the chains together that is opening the door of opportunity. Another detail Adams mentions is, “The mirrored glass shows where everyone can have a mirrored reflection of themselves once those doors open.” The faces featured within this piece are actually based on the students, faculty, and alumni at that time. His objective was to capture the likenesses of people within the College of Social work at the time of the murals creation with the techniques he knew then. The total amount of time for construction for the mural took almost a year. There was much conversation, feedback and engagement from the University’s community later followed by production over a 4 or 5 month period.
Adams acknowledges if he was to redo this project today, “it would be exactly what people remember but also fresher, with a means of reengaging the common community. Some of the faces were arbitrary and this new design will bring more life to the mural. The detail would be much finer compared to the current piece and the application would be different. He would like to recreate it seamlessly but it would not be the same tile work. It can be recreated to its recent likeness but it would be an upgrade. The mural is a memory and it speaks to this college and resonates with the students, faculty and visitors of the University. “
Project manager, Allison Wright, will lead the construction plan for this renovation. There is a possibility for a fundraising to be targeted towards the renovation of this art piece. There are two proposals: one for the restoration and the other for the replacement/ that will be done will be in the best interest of the University.