Multicultural mural complete after over three years

Carter Uslabar, Editor in Chief

A multicultural mural affixed to the east side of Albee Hall and Pool has finally been completed and unveiled after over three years of hard work by a group of UW Oshkosh Students.

The mural is a visual representation of UWO’s cultural and ethnic diversity. The mural itself is a stylized depiction of two different hands playing one guitar — or the “Same Song,” as the mural’s name suggests.

The mural was painted by artist Jason Anhorn. He said music is a universal language, conveying emotions understandable outside the context of culture.

The mural is the first piece of public art to be installed on UWO’s campus.

“Public art humanizes and invigorates public spaces,” UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said at the mural’s unveiling ceremony. “This piece, ‘Same Song,’ provides a visible representation of the values this institution is striving to achieve. All are supported and valued.”

Flor Hernandez-Lara, a member of the Multicultural Mural Task Force, said that when they began planning for the mural, nobody knew how long it would take to complete.

“We knew, and agreed, this mural is what our campus needed,” Hernandez-Lara said. “The task force was composed of students of all backgrounds that shared the same obstacles — not feeling at home at this predominantly white institution.”

Over three years later, thanks to help from UWO’s director of facilities and construction, JoAnn Rife, the mural has been completed.

“You know art is one of those external expressions of who we are,” UW Regent Karen Walsh said at the unveiling ceremony. “It’s with us no matter what the time period is, no matter what’s going on, and in 20 or 30 years, it’s still there expressing what we felt and knew at the time.”

The MMTF intended for the mural to be complete by fall 2019, but with unforeseen circumstances, and then disruptions caused by the coronavirus, its completion date had to be pushed back.

But despite all the policies and red tape in place making such a project difficult, the students of the MMTF completed the project.

“You didn’t take no for an answer,” UW Regent Corey Saffold said. “You kept pushing, you made a way, created your own path and developed a project plan to make it happen, and you did a phenomenal job at that.”