International mural site No. 34: Akron


Grant Morgan

Katie Schneider (left) and Ursulla Jefferson (right) are first to paint on UA’s mural.

By Grant Morgan, Arts & Life Editor

With an 8-by-4-foot brushstroke of its own, UA joined the international venture to paint a “Mural of the World.”

“Mural of the World” will become one massive public piece of art—built piece-by-piece by thousands of smaller murals, each designed and painted by any institution, organization, or community who chooses to participate.

Like UA’s, each of these smaller murals measures 8 feet by 4 feet. They are painted in the same way as a paint-by-number coloring book, only difference being that the mural’s image is tailored to whatever entity is painting it. Each entity paints two identical murals—one to keep and one to donate to “Mural of the World.”

UA’s mural features an outline of the Student Union, an outline of Zippy with his name below, and a pattern in the background. With tables set up by the Department of Student Life, any UA student who walked through the Student Union on Tuesday or Wednesday was offered to paint a section of the mural.

Those who painted signed their names on the side of the mural and filled out a tally sheet for Student Life. The end of the first day saw over 200 sheets hanging from Student Life’s tally board along with two nearly completed murals—each painted in UA’s signature blue and gold colors.

Doug Arnholter is the Indianapolis artist behind this project. He is currently traveling the world, stopping for a few days at each location to design a mural and collaborate with the group that will paint it. For Arnholter, UA was stop number 34; the first 33 have taken him all the way from Canada to Barbados and Mexico to America.

What UA actually contributed to was the “Mural of America.” This is a microcosm of the larger “Mural of the World.” Arnholter, after realizing the massive amounts of preparation and time needed to create such a global mural, chose to begin smaller and work his way up.

Nothing is certain about how large the global mural will be, but Arnholter thinks the “Mural of America” will be around 8 feet tall and 400 feet long.

“I see the country really divided,” Arnholster said. “We all want the same thing, and yet we fight and it’s crazy. We don’t see what we create working together; we don’t see the beauty of that.”

This March, Arnholter will begin an 18-month journey to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. In two years, the completed American mural will be put on display in the National Mall in D.C.

UA was not sought out to contribute; rather, UA sought Arnholter and asked to be a part of the project.

Alison Doehring, assistant director of Student Life, found Arnholster and his project on Twitter. After establishing Student Life as the sponsor, visiting the project’s website and talking with the artist, plans were made to bring the mural on UA’s campus.

“The whole goal for us is community building…allowing our diverse culture on campus to work together to create a masterpiece,” Doehring said. “Cohesion of diversity is a great way to put it.”

The mural that UA gets to keep will be put up on the third floor of the Student Union and remain there indefinitely—a testament to both UA’s diverse community and an acknowledgement of UA’s place in the community of the world.

More information on the “Mural of the World” and the “Mural of America” can be found on the project website at