New Murals Adorn NECC Walls
The subjects featured in the two, new, wall murals hanging in the Dimitry Building on the Northern Essex Community College Lawrence campus are a true study in diversity as seen through the eyes of the NECC students who photographed them.
An elderly woman reading in a wing-back chair, the spines of a collection of books, a subway rider, an auto mechanic at work, two children on a swing set, a portrait of a baby, a police officer, and a pair of aged hands, are just a few of the subjects featured in the murals “Diversity” and “The Library” created by Northern Essex students as a service learning project.
Last spring, students in the introductory to digital photography classes taught by NECC professors Bryan “Biff” Ward and Lance Hidy, were tasked with photographing people or objects that represented the themes of diversity and/ or library patronage.
A total of 229 black and white photos were submitted by 20 students. The photos were selected democratically by votes of the campus community, organized by NECC webmaster Cesar Gonzales Tellez. Former NECC Student Success Center advisor Joshua Abreu, now a post-grad at UConn, organized the project and Paula Richards, service-learning coordinator provided guidance. The murals were designed by Hidy.
At 12 x 6 feet, “The Library” adorns a wall outside the information literacy lab. It features eight photos and the Jorge Luis Borges quote, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” The printing and installation were funded by a $1,000 NECC Fund grant. On the other side of the building, in another hallway leading to the main classrooms, a 25 x 6 foot the mural “Diversity” offers 59 photographs complimented by a Carlos Fuentes quote, “Recognize yourself in he or she who are not like you or me.” A gift from the NECC Class of 2015 provided essential funding for this mural.
Noemi Custodia-Lora, executive director of the Lawrence Campus and Community Relations, is impressed with the scope of the project. “What do we see in the mural? There are so many different faces representing the one true essence of Northern Essex,” she said.
Both murals were printed and installed by Northeast Digital Imaging, a large format printer located in Methuen.
“These photography students did a lot of really great work,” said Jennifer Fielding, Coordinator of Library Services Lawrence Campus Library. “They had some really creative ideas. We wish we could have incorporated more photos, but we didn’t want to overwhelm the mural and I think we achieved that.”
It is a teaching and learning strategy, which incorporates meaningful service with NECC’s community partners, enhances the learning of course objectives, offers ongoing opportunities for reflection, and is reciprocal in nature.
NECC students can become engaged in their communities through service via various student clubs, Student Leadership opportunities, the Student Outreach Squad, and Service Learning, which connects service directly to their classroom experience.
Northern Essex students who participated include:
Amanda Burnett, April Campano, Luis Chavez, Emily Clark, Danielle Derderian, Susan Earnshaw, Noah Greenstein, Jordan Gustave, David Langan, Pamela Larcome, Yelimar Maisonet, Autumn Markey, George Medelinskas, Erin Murray, Tyler Peck, Justin Rolon, Ren Santiago, Taylor Treadwell, Harrison Wall, and Austin Wells.