Recently we were contacted by Arts at Michigan who gave us the good news that we had just qualified for one of their Course Connections grants. This $1000 grant will go towards the cost of permanently installing the finished Mural in Palmer Commons. The actual cost of installing the mural hasn't been tallied yet, but we know that this grant will go a long ways towards helping to cover these costs. It got me to thinking that perhaps folks would be interested in knowing what it really costs to create a mural of this size (approximately 17 by 75 feet). My able administrative assistant in LHSP, Ruth Marsh, has tallied the cost of paint, muslin (the material we are painting on) and other miscellaneous supplies, (such as tape, primer, brushes, containers, etc.) and the grand total comes to $1,986.49. Where does this money come from? Well, amazingly enough, not only are our eleven students giving the mural to the university (and the greater public) to keep, but they also helped pay for most of the production of this mural through an additional lab/studio fee of $150 per student, above their tuition. So, not including the overall university cost of running the class--paying for staff and faculty, studio space, etc.--we will end up just about $350 shy of being able to cover the expenses directly related to the creation of this marvelous piece of public artwork. Where will this money come from? Just a minute, I've got to call Ruth again.......but seriously, just to put these expenses into perspective, if this kind of artwork were to be commissioned professionally, the cost would have been prohibitively expensive for the units involved to cover--similar projects that have been created for other buildings on campus (granted they are usually paying big name artists) generally cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
So, thanks again to Arts at Michigan for coming forward to help us with this unique project. And special thanks to my students for giving so generously of their talents, time, effort, and...yes...their money too.