CCSU mural removals upsetting professor, students - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

CCSU mural removals upsetting professor, students

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This was a mural painted over at CCSU. (WFSB photo) This was a mural painted over at CCSU. (WFSB photo)
Murals like this one were being painted over at CCSU for expansion projects. (WFSB photo) Murals like this one were being painted over at CCSU for expansion projects. (WFSB photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

Central Connecticut State University in New Britain was home to more than 200 murals, all dreamed up and painted by students.

Over the past week, however, about half a dozen were painted over.

It sparked outrage from a professor and his artists.

The school said it had to make room for progress.

"It's the largest and finest collection of murals that exist in any university in the world as far as I know," said Mike Alewitz, a CCSU associate professor.

Alewitz has taught the mural program at CCSU for more than a decade. He said he taught kids how to develop a concept, create a design and bring it to life on a wall.

"It's really a great gift," he said. "It goes to the heart of what art is, which is giving something."

This week, he got word from his students that some of the murals had been painted over with more to come.

"It's shameful," Alewitz said. "To walk into a building that was adorned with some lovely mural and just see the blank white wall. It's just grotesque. And you wonder what human beings could do this?"

University officials said they support the mural program. They even produced a book about the students' artwork. However, they said the murals in question had been up for years and campus policy only guaranteed the space for a semester.

"We have over 200 murals on campus," said Janice Palmer, CCSU's spokesperson. "Do we have to take some down at different times each year? Yes we do. The good news is, it's because we're renovating or doing construction work."

The mural-turned white wall in Copernicus Hall was painted by a mathematics student who took an art class. He depicted "String Theory." The university spokesperson says it was removed to make way for new signage and television monitors.

Several students said they'll miss seeing it.

Kate Buqnacki's "Designasur" was another of the paintings to go. University officials say it made room for an expansion in Willard Hall.

Buqnacki graduated a few years ago. Eyewitness News spoke with her over the phone. She said she would have liked a little notice.

"They could have at least let me know they were taking it down because it takes a solid semester to plan these, design them out and execute them," she said. "So it was sad to see them go."

CCSU said it did notify the professor, but did not track down the former students. Alewitz says he was not notified by the university, and doesn't want to see any more go. "It's very painful to watch this," said Alewitz.

One of the murals was even painted on canvas so it could be removed if needed, but now has been painted over.

But University officials say more are slated to come down.  When all is said and done, 12 to 14 murals will be removed for summer construction.

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