Student Work on Permanent Display in East Lansing

man sits on top of ladder working on painting the top of the muralTwo Department of Art, Art History, and Design students now have their artwork permanently displayed in downtown East Lansing as the winners of the MSUFCU (Michigan State University Federal Credit Union) mural competition.

Malarie French, Graphic Design and Packaging double major, and Will Mianecki, Graphic Design and Professional Writing double major, created the winning design, which was painted by MFA graduate student Sam Bennett, and overseen by faculty sponsor Kelly Salchow MacArthur, and unveiled at a special ceremony on April 26. 

The outdoor mural can be found on the north exterior wall of the new MSUFCU location in downtown East Lansing.

“The most exciting part about the MSUFCU mural commission is the opportunity to create work on a large scale that has the potential to be viewed by so many people,” Mianecki said.

The mural was designed for passersby to connect with the local communities surrounding Michigan State University, East Lansing and Lansing.

The most exciting part about the MSUFCU mural commission is the opportunity to create work on a large scale that has the potential to be viewed by so many people.

Will Mianecki

“The essence of the mural is community,” French said. “Not just the Michigan State University community, but the East Lansing and Lansing community as well.”

The design includes a topographical map to showcase physical connectivity and community as well as images of Michigan State University and the Capital.

“When we were brainstorming themes that would be appropriate for the space, we kept coming back to the importance of community and the value of connection,” Mianecki said. “We thought that the concept would be relevant and important to potential viewers and MSUFCU.”

The selected mural was completed off site and recently was installed on the building exterior. Overall, the process took about two months to complete. One for drafting sketches and making revisions, and another for painting and installation.

finished mural that says "connect" and has imagery of east lansing and lansing

“The mural features an abstracted historic topographic map of the area that is folded to reflect the dynamic and diverse nature of the three communities. The folds create the illusion of three-dimensionality and activate the mural space to engage passersby,” Mianecki said. “The word ‘connect’ is threaded through the folded forms of the composition in order to articulate the mural’s call-to- action.”

The essence of the mural is community.

Malarie French

The MSUFCU mural competition was announced in late January and proposals needed to be submitted by February 8, with the top three proposals receiving a monetary prize. The competition was open to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in courses in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design.

“This project furthers the college’s ongoing partnerships and connections with MSUFCU,” said Christopher Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “At the same time, it speaks to the centrality of the arts in the East Lansing community and is a vivid reminder of how art enriches the city in creative new ways.”