As you walk into Anderson Hall, you will be greeted by a grand, new sight. Reflecting the vast and iconic southern Alberta coulees, alumna Laurel Scott's (BFA - Art '21) mural wraps around nearly 30 feet of curved wall and culminates on the right with a large image of the buffalo that once roamed these lands that the University of Lethbridge resides on. 

The mural is the result of an initiative by Student Affairs to build welcoming campus spaces, particularly in Anderson Hall, as it is often one of the first buildings students and community members enter when visiting ULethbridge. A call for artists was opened to students and alumni last fall, with the project finally getting its unveiling at the end of February.

Laurel is the artist behind the mural. An art studio major, Laurel was drawn to the project because of its on-campus location, which allowed her to beautify the very halls she walked as a student. 

“I spent so much time here as a student, living and working here, spending my nights working in the studio. It is a really cool opportunity to be able to put something back in a space that was really significant to me. I met some of my best friends at University, made lifelong relationships and so much has gone on in my life here.”

“Even just brightening up the space, having colours and something to look at, it’s a nice added benefit that we can brighten someone’s day when they’re walking by,” Laurel adds.

The mural is a line drawing based off a photo that Laurel took on the south side of the Oldman River, in an area she used to run through. During her later years at ULethbridge, Laurel says she spent a significant amount of her time in the coulees, getting away from the stress and pressures of school.

“It's a view of the river and of the area that a lot of people don't really see because it’s an off-trail area. It was definitely a place where I went and did a lot of art outside.”

The buffalo is something Laurel added as a reminder of our history and a hope for the future.

“The buffalo have experienced tragedy, having almost reached extinction, yet continue to survive with the help of those who care about them. The value they bring both environmentally and culturally cannot be understated. As a keystone species, the buffalo signifies the health of the overall environment, and through many Indigenous-led efforts, they are starting to reclaim the space they once held.”

In the background, the quilt brings everything together through a warm and welcoming embrace.

“The quilt background is based off of a design that my grandma taught me. It's a variation of a star quilt pattern that many people recognize. The colors are kind of muted and pastel, taken from both the photo of the landscape and from a painting I did in my first year of University that was practicing skin tones.”

For Laurel, this is the start of an exciting initiative that she hopes to see continued across campus.

“I hope there are more opportunities like this for other students. Having murals add so much beauty to campuses, which are usually institutional, and a lot of people can get very drained in those environments. If there are more initiatives like this, that would be awesome.”

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