Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Mural project promotes mental health and wellness

Photo by Larissa Gomez

Next month, a mural currently hanging in the University of Redlands Armacost Library will embark on an installation tour to selected San Bernardino and Riverside county high schools. 

Painted by San Bernardino artist Ivan Preciado during the 2017 Alliance for Community Transformation and Wellness’ (ACTW) Vibe Festival, the mural was created to enhance students’ educational experience and wellness through art. The five-panel mural is titled Refine.

The mural has been on display in the Armacost Library since September of this year. Interdisciplinary and Area Studies Librarian Shana Higgins notes that the reaction to the mural by both students and faculty has been positive. “I’m going to miss it when it’s gone,” says Higgins, who has watched students stop and study the piece.

Thanks to the efforts of U of R School of Education Professor Janee Both Gragg, the mural will now go on to be displayed for six weeks at Redlands High School, Beaumont High School, San Jacinto High School, Grand Terrace High School, and Redlands East Valley High School. “After the festival in February, the mural was stored in a closet and I wanted to find a way for it to be seen,” says Both Gragg.

Coinciding with the display of the mural on each new campus, high school administrators will have the chance to work with the U of R School of Education to provide enhanced health and wellness information to their campus and community. 

Both Gragg hopes that the mural will promote interesting and relevant conversation among students and allow them to consider their roles in engaging with art, education, and each other.

“There’s a positive impact when any school gains access to positive health messaging that is meaningful and beneficial to the students," says Both Gragg. “Health and wellness, at their core, have really powerful implications for academic success. In addition, having the mural go on tour to these high schools will be a great opportunity for the U of R to be visible in communities where it has not been.”  

While the deadline for high schools to apply to display the mural has ended, Both Gragg hopes that collaboration can happen more frequently in the future. “This partnership is unlike anything that’s happening in the Inland Empire,” she says. “Opportunities like these are very organic, and it’s great to be able to play an important part within the community.”

Learn more about the Vibe Festival. Follow the Alliance for Community Transformation and Wellness on Facebook and Instagram