Student center gets tribal touch
November 11, 2009 6:40 PM
After a four-year struggle, the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations is in its last phase of putting together a mural that will not only represent their club, but American Indians throughout the Bay Area and SF State community.
Now, after the prolonged process of piecing together the artistic idea, President Robert Corrigan gave formal approval Nov. 3 to have SKIN's mural, "We Are Still Here," be the last permanent mural placed in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, according to Dianna Baldwin, president and co-chair of SKINS, the American Indian student organization on campus.
The unveiling for the mural is set for Nov. 20 in the student center's West Plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebration will continue in Jack Adams Hall from 3 - 9 p.m. that day.
Baldwin, a 23-year-old senior, mentioned that after three years on the mural committee, she was finally happy to see the project succeed, in spite of some pitfalls in the organizational process.
Baldwin said the high turnover of committee chairs made meetings practically impossible.
Samuel Brown, 21, chair of the finance committee for the student center governing board, agreed that a lack of organization or completely solid idea for the mural led to the project's postponement.
Over time, the committee slowly put together bits and pieces of their ideas on the mural, but never had the chance to fully execute them in an academic year.
This time, Brown said the plan was well mapped out and happened remarkably quickly because the group got together with Jackie Mendez, a graduate student in the College of Ethnic Studies and chair of the mural committee.
Mendez, 27, solidified the thoughts and ideas of past members of the mural committee to get the project complete.
Mendez said one thing that helped get the process moving smoothly was the energy that the mural committee put into it. She described it as "amazing."
"The student center governing board saw a couple of the murals in the past, but once we saw it in its most recent form, everyone fell in love with it and we all unanimously voted to approve it," Brown said.
In order to find the right artist, the mural committee distributed publicity packets titled, "A Call for Proposal."
In the packets, potential mural artists were asked for their biographies, professional experiences, and examples of work.
The committee eventually narrowed it down to two artists -- Marc Nicely and Larry Sillaway.
The artists were picked because, according to Baldwin, Nicely already had an idea of how he wanted to do the mural, and Sillaway, who is from the Yurok tribe of Northern California, had good weaving designs that were put into the mural.
The mural will try to represent the continued presence of American Indian people in the Bay Area and SF State, along with their continued struggles.
"They are not only alive in the community, their culture is still strong," Brown said.
Although this is a really important project for SKIN and the Associated Students, Inc., Baldwin said it has great importance to her as well.
"I've been working on this for the last three years, so for me to see this happen the last semester which I graduate is exciting; in some ways it's even better than receiving my diploma, because I feel like I am leaving a piece of me behind," she said.
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