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Erb Memorial Union Mural Proposal

Art Opportunity at Erb Memorial Union Submitted by Celeste Schield Jacobi

Mural proposal focusing on a
diverse and inclusive environment.  

Brooklyn Vibe - Acrylics on canvas - 2016 - 24”x36”x2” - This art was completed once I returned from two weeks in Brooklyn with the desire to translate the vibe of the city.


This letter is regarding the art opportunity at Erb Memorial Union. I adore the beauty of the campus and the vibrancy the students and staff fill the halls with. I have only attended a few Saturday life drawing classes when they were available to the public in the art building. I often visit the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Walking the campus has allowed me space to take in the stunning landscape and historic architecture. These spaces have allowed my mind to realize elements in my artwork. The magnolia trees blooming on campus in spring became part of my “Dreamscape” painting. 

I visited the EMU when it was last renovated in 2016. The new design elements modernized and brightened up the space. I would love an opportunity to contribute in artistic engagement with the University of Oregon students and staff.



The concept I am thinking of would promote diversity and open acceptance of others. I want to share a story about “Brooklyn Vibe”. This piece was created after I spent two weeks cycling through Brooklyn. I enjoyed meeting as many strangers as possible to obtain a better sense of the community. When I returned to Eugene, I felt a sense of fragmentation in our community. I wish more people of different cultures and opinions would gather and genuinely want to know one another. Bringing a richer understanding of one another into our hearts. 


I was getting close to finishing “Brooklyn Vibe” and decided to bring her to an outdoor market in Whiteaker. While painting her I had many people in the community approach me and share the emotions the painting brought up in them. However, it was an African American girl, around age 6 or 7, who stood behind me and said nothing but stared at the painting. She was standing there for a long period of time which started to concern me on the location of her parents. But I took this opportunity to lower the easel to her height and I told her she could look at the painting closer. She didn’t say anything and approached the painting still wide eyed. I began to think about what she was experiencing. 
It dawned on me this may be the first time she has seen a large painting of a female who looked like her. They shared the same skin tone and curly thick hair. There is ample texture in the paints, I mentioned she could lightly touch the painting. She carefully moved her fingers across the wavy hair which I hope gave her more of a connection with the art. These are the moments I crave as an artist. To help empower others and offer a fresh perspective towards everyday realities.

Diversity and inclusion can be presented in many ways. These images will showcase possibilities. 


Man’s Multitude - Pastel on Paper - 2014 - 24”x36” - Commissioned by PABST for $1,000. Humans are complex and showing a variety of angles on a portrait feels truer to the human experience. 


I can comfortably say that “Man’s Multitude” is more intriguing to the demographic of students at the University of Oregon. I’ve had male and females from different cultures and nationalities express how they find this style of portrait very intriguing. If considered for the mural project, I would have photos of students to be recreated in the portraits. Possibly even using three to five different faces across one “puzzle portrait”. I would do a small mock-up for approval on any concept. This idea would ensure engagement with the students.


Shift - Oils on canvas - 2000 - 60”x60” - Portrait displaying a Seattle lifestyle. 


“Shift” is another example of the “puzzle portrait” style you see in “Man’s Multitude”.
These two images along with “Brooklyn Vibe” and “Congo” give options to how portraits can be presented.


Congo - Oils on canvas - 1998 - 48”x36” - Shows generation of men in The Democratic Republic of the Congo.


HUEmans were created to help us deconstructing self-image. Breaking down identity through skin tones, personal styles, etc. Simply showing us as shapes with alluring colors.


Gazing Greif - Pastels on paper - 1996 - 24”x16” - Based on a heartbreaking photo of an AIDS patient dying.

This style offers another opportunity to question what diversity and inclusion can mean by stripping us down. I understand representation of nudity can be an issue which is why I’ve added “Intertwined”. This is a further abstract representation of HUEmans. 


Intertwined - Oils on canvas - 1996 - 60”x36” - The beauty of an intimate display through shapes and colors.


Creative Movement - Pastels on newsprint - 2005 - 20”x14” - I enjoyed using old newsprint to place HUEmans in.

I believe HUEmans allow you to display difficult social subjects with an ease and grace through abstract representation. 


Colored - Pastels on newsprint - 1996 - 20”x16” - Based on a historic photo from TIMES magazine.


As you can see, I’ve been working on the concept of self-exploration for a few decades now. I’m now in my process of merging HUEmans with nature since that is ultimately our genuine lifeline. We cannot remove or elevate ourselves from other elemental creations. Coexistence is key to our happiness and survival. This is represented in my current piece which is still in production. 


Beautiful Confusion - Oils on wood panel - 2023 - 60”x48” - Merging the beautiful flow of existence that we’ve become disconnected from. 

I am passionate about all the styles I have worked on which have brought me to my current creation. I am willing to visit any of these potentials on a mural proposal for the EMU building. 

Thank you for your time,
Celeste Schield Jacobi


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