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The Multicultural Murals

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At Memorial Union

Historically, the multicultural murals, located on the first floor of the Wisconsin Union’s Memorial Union, contribute one more piece to the Union’s tradition of artistic expression of various cultures.

The multicultural murals add to the tradition of muralism at the Memorial Union and make significant contributions to the Wisconsin Union’s art collection. Together the murals convey a message of unity through diversity and are constant, stirring reminders of the Union’s role as a gathering place for all members of the University community.

The Making of the Murals

Enthusiasm for the idea of a multicultural mural swelled throughout the student body involved in the Union in 1993. Sensing the urgency for a lasting representation of students of color at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and specifically at the Union, students secured support for the idea of a mural from Union Council, the governing board of the Union. They then formed the Multicultural Mural Committee.

The commitment of the students on the Multicultural Mural Committee was sustained for three years. Through finding the optimum location for the murals, writing grants to fund the project, searching for a nationally renowned artist, making suggestions for content in the murals and planning the dedication of the murals in March 1996, the students provided the driving force.

The Union thanks the many individuals who helped turn the vision of a mural into a reality, especially the students on the Multicultural Mural Committee.

We are grateful to the following organizations for providing the necessary funds to complete the project: The Memorial Union Building Association, the Anonymous Fund, The Associated Students of Madison, the Multicultural Council and the UW-Madison Latin American & Iberian Studies Program.

About the Artist

Wherever he works, Leo Tanguma sees himself as a vehicle for a community’s collective expression. Interacting with the community members at the site of his work is part of his creative process. Tanguma included the suggestions, ideas, and even the faces of UW-Madison students, faculty and staff, passersby, and Madisonians.

Tanguma has exhibited his works at universities and museums, and lectured at high schools and colleges. His career highlights include murals at the Denver International Airport, distinction as Hispanic Artist of the Year and a fellowship award from the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs.


Read More History and Details in the Mural Booklet

(Click in the center of the image below to zoom to full size)

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