Center for Academic Success and Engagement to Unveil Ancestral Legacy Mural
Mural created by local artists reflects the rich diversity of the Baylor community
WACO, Texas (April 27, 2022) – A new Ancestral Legacy Mural in Baylor University’s Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) in the Sid Richardson Building has joined the growing list of inspirational murals located throughout the City of Waco.
CASE, which is part of the Paul L. Foster Success Center, will unveil the new mural during a come-and-go reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, May 2, in lower-level West Wing of Sid Richardson, 1416 S. Third St. All faculty, staff and students are invited to visit the mural and its celebration of the diversity across campus.
Almost a year in the making, the original idea for the mural started in May 2021 with the Success Center leading a collaborative effort of campus departments, divisions and current students, who have shared value in supporting Baylor students of color.
“The original inspiration was the opportunity to create a space that celebrates and supports our students of all backgrounds,” said Michelle Gonzales, program manager for First in Line and co-director of the Avanzando Through College program at Baylor. “We wanted to foster an environment where students felt safe to bring their (whole) selves to our office and know they would be met with unconditional love and support.”
Along with students, several campus partners – including Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX, Multicultural Affairs, the Department of Art and Art History and Student Life – joined the Success Center to discuss the idea, plan the execution and choose the artists. Through this collaboration, the partners created a vision of diversity and celebration of ancestral roots, then found the right artists to bring the concept to reality.
Focusing on local artists, Cade Kegerreis, BA (Fine and Studio Arts) ’17, was recommended by the art department. With an enthusiasm and vision that aligned with the committee’s goals, Kegerreis worked with additional artists to design a mural that celebrates and reflects diversity through a creative approach. Another local artist, Will Suarez, joined the project, and the two became the official team of artists tasked with delivering this special project.
Kegerreis and Suarez developed the design through a series of thought-provoking questions such as, “What makes diversity in higher education beautiful?” and “How would you reflect what is and what could be when it comes to the diversity of our student body, inspiring perseverance and hope?” Inspired by the prompts, the artists brought their vision to life, painting the mural in early March over Baylor’s spring break.
“The final design settled on celebrating the diversity of our students while honoring the various backgrounds, past and familial stories,” Gonzalez said, adding that the design provides a beautiful foundation on which to build and create spaces where students feel represented, valued and celebrated.
Gonzalez said student feedback to the mural has been very positive and its location within the Sid Rich Building remains a favorite study spot for students.
“The figures represent our ancestors and the wisdom they pass down through each generation. The various patterns reflect the beautiful cultures and vibrancy represented in today’s generation,” Gonzalez said.
An accompanying plaque will be hung near the mural and will read:
“Through collaboration with local artists, this mural was commissioned to empower students. This piece pays respects to the lineage and ties found within the Baylor community. It represents the beautiful diversity that should be celebrated!
Students and faculty alike come from near and far, both the current generation and those who came before. There are both vast differences, and uncanny similarities between cultures around the world- but we are all one.
This mural was made possible by the commission from the Paul L. Foster Success Center.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.