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Questions arise over future of College of DuPage mural

A thing of beauty is a joy forever, if it has a proper home, that is.

On the College of DuPage campus, a 40-by-12-foot ceramic mural that formerly rested on the wall of the Physical Education Building needs a new place to hang.

With ongoing renovation of the campus, the giant piece of art depicting athletes in action finds itself in storage, and the college’s board must find some way to either relocate it or dispose of it.

“What is the appropriate process,” was the question Trustee Nancy Svoboda put to her colleagues Dec. 19.

Svoboda presented a petition with 150 signatures in support of finding a home for the mural.

The piece of art was begun in 1982 and completed in 1983 in time to dedicate the then-new Physical Education Building.

The artists were Pam Lowrie and John Wantz, who were also art professors at COD.

The work was a collaborative effort involving students and other volunteers and Svoboda noted that it was part of an ongoing series of art pieces created for the campus at that particular time in COD’s history.

“It is the last of an era,” she said.

But what to do with it is a question for which no one has been able to find a satisfactory answer. One option is to find another appropriate site in the COD community to host the mural. Another is to find another place on campus for it. Yet another is to break it up into smaller pieces, with the idea of keeping intact the center section with athletes reaching toward the sky.

Trustees had differing opinions, with Dianne McGuire and Kathy Hamilton leaning toward the possibility of breaking the mural into pieces. But Svoboda said that “the artist would be heartbroken.”

Kim Savage said it was “important to find a place on campus for it.”

Board President Erin Birt also seemed uncomfortable with the idea of splitting the mural apart. She was also uncomfortable with making a snap decision, so she suggested, and the board agreed, to put off the matter until the January meeting, giving staff time to assemble data and Student Trustee Stephanie Torres an opportunity to gauge student opinion.

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