Students honor Berlin’s past through art
The Berlin Mural Project was a collaboration between three entities: the Art Department and the Center for Rural Partnership’s at Plymouth State University and the Tri-County Community Action Program, Inc., which originated the project. The task was to create a series of twenty four, 4’ X 8’ murals (768 square feet), which were to cover the windows in the west wing of the Brown Paper Company’s historic Research and Development Building in Berlin, NH to prevent further deterioration.
Twelve students from PSU’s Art Department, supervised by Professor Tom Driscoll, created the mural in a single semester during the spring of 2011. The group began by presenting three different designs for the mural to Jim Wagner, the main impetus behind the project and liaison between Berlin and PSU. Once he chose the final design, the rest of the semester was spent enlarging and honing the initial drawings to fit on the sheets of plywood, painting the actual mural and sealing it against the elements.
The mural depicts aspects of the culture and history of Berlin, and consequently of the paper industry, since the growth of the two was closely tied together. The panels also focus on the Research and Development building, where many scientific innovations originated. The creation and painting of the mural was a great collaborative effort on the part of the twelve artists, who had to rely on each other on a daily basis in order to accomplish this enormous task. Seeing the mural finished and installed on the R&D building was a moment of great satisfaction, both for the artists and the citizens of Berlin.