Going to talk about our library’s goal to bring more art into the library & how that led to collaborating with art faculty & students
Ultimately led to the creation of a mural in our Architecture Library
This student-created mural is entitled Fragments from the Library of Babel.
Can see one of the pieces here
The mural was installed on the 2 high walls as you enter the library.
The entire process took almost a year, starting from my initial outreach to a painting professor.
You can see here a list of the primary steps involved in making this project happen, including budgeting, collaboration, and programming.
During my presentation, I’ll highlight some of these steps.
The mural was created thru a partnership btw the Library & the CoAA
Library acted as the client & the students as the providers.
I’ve highlighted the main players (or stakeholders) involved. In the Library Thru the College of Arts & Architecture
This entire project started with an email…
1st with an email to set up a meeting with the college gallery director Then an email to an art professor she recommended as open to collaboration This art professor brought in a second art professor. As a result, we collaborated with 2 classes.
Getting into the implementation of the project: Work on the mural began in Fall 2017 when both interested professors were teaching classes that would work. One in print media & one in mixed media painting
We met with faculty to discuss some of the logistics involved: Like the Budget: So brought in the Library Dean & Business Manager We were able to get some funding from the CoAA as well Nearing the installation, the faculty realized that they needed additional funding & I was able to lobby for that. The space itself was also a consideration We needed to plan for the physical constraints: Size & Height of the Walls
These were both small classes.
Able to share studio space
Originally, each class was going to take one wall. However, collaboration became the overriding theme & ended up working together.
The students discussed the same readings, shared ideas, learned about different techniques from each other.
I was also able to discuss course planning with the faculty.
Can see a couple of the readings that students were assigned AND the name of the mural was inspired by one of the readings.
They were also given examples by other artists for inspiration (can see examples here).
Invited to visit studio sessions
A time to speak directly w/ the students Able to see how designs for the mural changed For instance, they had very literal interpretations in the beginning with stacks of books & stacks of books with wings. Also a Q&A opportunity We were asked about our expectations, our reactions to the draft designs. They discussed their intentions with the work, their thought processes.
They considered definition of a library (physical spaces & online environment).
They were thinking about multiples uses of library space during design.
Looking specifically at the physical space, they thought about how: Some people use the library for quiet, study space (reading, writing). Some use the space to meet with friends to talk. Others use the space to work on projects with classmates.
Explained how saw the library as a place to make connections: w/ other people, w/ knowledge, btw ideas.
As a result, they wanted create balanced composition: Balance btw ideas of dynamic & calm (to inspire learning but not distract) Balance organic vs. structured imagery (esp since going to architecture library) Variety of mediums (Analog & Digital/Combing both class focuses w/ ptg & print media)
Documenting the process was important to us.
These images are currently being stored in university cloud storage space, but they will eventually go into the library repository.
Both classes came into the Architecture Library for their final exam & critique.
They brought all of the pieces that could possibly go into making the mural.
The session consisted of discussions with faculty, other students & myself about placement & groupings.
We documented this part of the process as well.
Can see the painting professor here talking w/ one of the students.
They arranged & rearranged the pieces.
Discussed aesthetic aspects of the groupings but also physical limitations with the 2 walls.
Can see in the back that the other professor is taking photographs as well.
The installation of the mural was moved to the next semester (Spring 2018)
In part, professors realized wouldn’t have time to do as part of class.
Also, the installation process became more involved/laborious than originally anticipated.
However, during the classes they were able to do some test runs with some pieces to see how they wanted to place them & how would need to hang them.
Next step: getting all the pieces over to the Architecture Library & deciding how to hang them
B/c of the height of the walls, we had to bring in University Facilities & not just Library Facilities
See short clip here
PLAY video of faculty installing pieces w/ staff from University Facilities
The building elevators wouldn’t accommodate an automated lift so had to install scaffolding. I did a lot of go-between among various campus departments during this part of project.
Scaffolding also meant an additional cost.
Shows parts of the installation on both walls.
See other wall from a different perspective.
Also shows why we’re working on a 360 view of the space.
To celebrate the creation & installation of the mural, we had a reception & student artist panel.
This programming was important since this project was the students’ visual form of scholarship & research
Using imagery from the mural, this is the invitation that the Library’s graphic designer created an announcement for the reception & artist talk.
Five of the students spoke at the panel
Crowd was a mixture of people from both the Library & the College (including both Deans)
I learned several lessons during this project
Still learning as we get to the documentation/archiving portion of the project
Some of the lessons deals with the issues listed here:
Budget: Had to rework the budget as things changed (like the need for scaffolding) Two departments worked differently: Library: needed amount up front at beginning CoAA: tended to spend as they work thru the process
Maintaining clear communication btw all the different players was sometimes difficult. I was often the go-between/contact person. But definitely worth the effort. Think it strengthened the relationship btw the Library & the College.
The installation became an ongoing process as we had to work thru the logistics.
The reception & panel went well over all. Students who spoke were great. Articulate, enthusiastic. Talked about how they benefited from working with the librarians as “real world” clients & helped them prepare for their careers as artists.
Video: Poor quality Dark Background noise Unusable
Play SMALL CLIP
Technology & Multimedia Production Coordinator hired after this panel. Did his best to edit but difficult w/o effecting other parts. BUT will now be able to record in-house going forward.
Where do we go from here with the project?
As mentioned… We received some great photos from faculty.
Had initially talked about having students document the project as well & wld follow thru with that with next collaboration.
Now we’re talking about the best way to archive the images.
We may create an Omeka site to showcase them but also digitally preserve them in our repository.
We’ve also taken several photos after installation & will include those too.
B/c the art panel video isn’t viable on its own, talked about alternatives: Talked about combining these later photos with the audio. However, it looks like there’s no way to save the audio either so we’re now hoping to bring in at least 3 of the students still on campus, possibly 4, to interview them in the library’s new recording studio. We’ll then combine that audio from interviews w/ photos of mural.
We’ve also created a panoramic/360 & will feature on library website.
Then with something like an Omeka site, we can then feature the still photographs, the 360 view, the interviews, a timeline, the course reading list, the names of everyone involved & more.
See draft version of 360 view
Overall, this experience has been a rewarding experience.
Took me out of my normal activities (comfort zone) with instruction, reference, collection development.
But definitely worth it: Created strong relationships with the CoAA & the Dept of AAH & SoA in particular. Gave art students real-world experience by working with the Library as a client. Plus Library able to showcase the scholarship of art students which doesn’t always fit into the traditional definition of scholarship with research papers & studies.
Client/Provider Relationship: Library as Client & Art Students as Provider
Arts & Architecture Librarian
Project was a cross-departmental collaboration
• Administration (Dean, Business Officer, Public
• Research & Instruction Services (Arts &
• Technology & Digital Strategies (Graphic
Design & Tech/Multimedia Coordinator)
• College of Arts & Architecture
• Administration (Dean, Business Officer, Public
• Department of Art & Art History
• 2 Faculty members
• Students enrolled in classes
• College gallery director
Two Art Studio Classes:
1. Print Media
Two Art Studio Classes
• Shared studio space
• Small classes
• Contribute individual talents
• Learn from peers
ARTR 3162 - Print Media 3: : Lithography,
Digital & Mixed Media
ARTP 3161 - Mixed Media Painting
Received photo updates from faculty throughout the semester
Showcasing the Mural Online
• Create site to show variety of photos
• Create video combining photos &
audio of student interviews (in lieu of
• 360 view of mural
• Photos taken by Technology & Multimedia
• Panoramic.uncc.edu: View on various
platforms (computers, phone, VR headset)
Draft of 360 View