A community mural in empty halls

Despite the pandemic-induced closing of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, a student-led mural shines bright.


Karissa Anderson

Sections of the mural of two women working together drawing a globe.

Ivan Lopez-Kne, editor

Mural organizers started installing a new mural on Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s Coon Rapids campus May 22, after altering a few plans because of the coronavirus. The project took  longer than originally planned, but it is still viewed as a large success by Greta McLain, one of the project organizers.  

The roughly 1,000 foot mural was designed by Anoka-Ramsey students with guidance from Greta McLain of Good Space Murals. The project was pitched by Rachel Breen, an art department instructor, and McLain. The duo said the mural’s goal is to create a larger sense of community at the college.  

 “We’re thrilled with it,” McLain said. “The design experience was incredible – and the paint parties were really positive and super fun. We got so many hands involved and got the entire underpainting done. We’re really excited about it still.” 

The projects original goal was to introduce new ways for students to meet one another and bridge the assumed gaps between students’ lives outside the classroom. The mural was designed to represent the transition of a student. It begins with outside struggles students face, emphasized by cooler, darker colors. The mural transitions into brighter, warmer colors to symbolize the positivity of school and the blending of different types of academics. 

One of the biggest successes, according to McLain, was the student involvement that occurred right before the State enacted COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. 

We did our last paint party the day before the campus closed. So, we got in all our bigger, wider campus community painting,” McLain said. “All these canvases were touched by a ton of people. 

McLain said the project is not quite done. An adjacent mural will be placed on the stairway wall by the Riverside Café. The additional piece will be like the large mural at “The Bulge,” but will give the student mentees more opportunities to work directly with McLain. McLain expects the second mural to be finished by the end of summer, so long as campuses stay open.