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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette juniors team up to paint new mural in College of Education

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake
Each ring on the mural symbolizes a different feeling: happiness, comfort, calm, love and positivity.

A 100-year-old university building has acquired a new look in the study room, thanks to a team of student artists who thought the space could use “a little love.”

Mia Gleason and Delaney Yarwood, juniors in the College of Education, decided that Schroeder Complex, home to the College of Education, room 118 needed a touch of color in the form of an unconventional rainbow, sporting orange, muted pink, sage green, dusty rose and mustard yellow arches. Each is meant to give symbolize a specific feeling: happiness, comfort, calm, love and positivity.

“We wanted calm colors but not sad and muted, so we did non-traditional rainbow colors, but still happy and bright,” Yarwood said. “I feel like a lot of educators love rainbows in their classrooms, so we wanted to bring that into the study space.”

The pair decided in the fall 2021 semester that the space was in need of a revamp, creating a presentation to support their case. The two initially promoted their idea to Terry Burant, director of teacher education, in February of 2022. Burant admired their determination and persistence, agreeing to help their cause.

“I just love those kinds of instances where students take it upon themselves to identify something that they didn’t feel was functional,” Burant said. “For the things that education students would want their rooms to be, it was just a space that had been ignored.” 

From there, the artists had to go through a series of approvals from university officials, finally receiving permission from the physical environment community to fulfill their vision a full year after making their initial PowerPoint driven request. The appeal mentioned new furniture for the space, including lamps, string lights, a whiteboard and a table to go along with the high-arching rainbow mural and a series of inspirational quotes on the walls.

“I think it’s important as educators and future educators to be an inspiration. There’s this phrase: ‘teach like a champion for your learners.’  We just want a space that’s representative of that,” Gleason said.

The duo met in their first year at Marquette, mentioning it was hard to make friends with COVID-19 restrictions. Despite this, an Instagram direct message and a walk to class together sparked a relationship that’s pushing three years.

“We just get each other,” Yarwood said.

Gleason added that the two are type A, working well together academically and beyond.

“We both really like art and creating and having a creative and safe space in classrooms. We’re both really passionate about that,” Gleason said.

Yarwood credits her grandmother for her art passion, teaching her to knit and crochet, often sleeping over at her house. Having painted social teachings above the lockers in high school, Yarwood is the more experienced of the two artists, having outlined the rainbow to prepare for its painting.

“I grew up always creating in some way. I really like to paint, I like to make jewelry, make my own beads with clay,” Yarwood said. “I got that from my grandma, she always taught that sort of stuff to me. That was my hobby growing up and now I’ve taken it more seriously.”

Yarwood has an online shop on Student Made Marquette, a website for students to sell their art. Yarwood described making earrings as de-stressing, allowing for an opportunity to recharge and inspire creativity.

Both future educators hope to teach elementary-level students, having student taught a first grade class together as part of their Marquette education.

“I feel like it’s my way to give back to my community and give back to the people who taught me. I feel like teaching comes naturally to some people, I just felt it came naturally to me as well,” Gleason said.

Mentioning things she’s seen on social media like teacher burnout and lack of support for administration, Yarwood believes it is still important to remain positive and said seeing this mural is a way to help with that.

“It’s such an important thing as teachers to have a sense of hope. Hope for the future of the profession and the kids we’re teaching. It’s kind of a little reminder of that,” Yarwood said. “I think the message would be everybody who’s in the College of Education is here for a reason and we all have that passion for it.”

Sticking with hope for the future, they hope the mural will have a positive impact on the college, improving overall feeling.

“It’s something small in retrospect but I think will mean a lot to a lot of people who come in here. I hope it brings joy, we want it to symbolize peace and love,” Gleason said. “I hope it brings more of a welcoming and peaceful aura to our education college. It’s a very small college, but it’s really represented by the best people. I hope that when either prospective students or students that are here right now come in, they just feel the peace and love that I feel in this college.”

This story was written by Kevin Fitzpatrick. He can be reached at [email protected]

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