July 26th, 2022
Like four students previously, Capri Bisom spent some sunny summer days on scaffolding on the north side of Haury Hall.
Bisom was creating the Class of 2022’s contribution to the mural born in 2019 from an idea of Lil Padro, a 2019 graduate from Miami.
“I felt that a mural is something that could last and be a symbol of the senior class,” Padro said at the time.
Class of 2019 member Jesus “Chuy” Alba painted the first piece of the mural in 2019.
He’s been followed by Katrina Heinrichs and Blayne Stump (2020), and Adam Kroeker (2021).
The Student Government Association, Student Life and the Bethel Alumni Association provide funding. Anyone from those groups, faculty from the Department of Visual Arts and Design and any member of the current graduating class can comment on the design.
Bisom said of theirs, “It honors the location of Bethel College. The Cheyenne pattern in the middle is to honor the First Nations people and their ancestral lands we occupy, the sunflower represents the state of Kansas, and the threshing stone is for the campus in North Newton.”
Bisom, a student worker at Bethel’s Kauffman Museum, said that the Indigenous pattern and coloring is based on a cradleboard at the museum, while the threshing stone colors are Bethel maroon, gray, black and white.
The exposed brick is intentional, Bisom noted, because previous parts of the mural hadn’t included that.
“I decided on the theme myself,” Bisom said. “The graduating class of 2022 [could] provide input in the form of survey responses. The only response I got was ‘sunflowers,’” which Bisom added to the planned Indigenous representation and the Bethel Thresher logo.
“All the painting and design work I completed by myself,” Bisom said, “but [others] had input and could provide feedback on my design. Ultimately it is up to the artist how and what they paint.”
The mural is located on Haury Hall’s north wall just opposite Will Academic Center.
Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #15 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu