Tuesday, April 24, 2018

URSP Student Fionnuala Fisk Seeks to Bring Professionally-designed, Thoughtful Murals to Mason’s Fairfax Campus

As a native Richmonder, I’ve been deeply drawn to the splashes of color that the city’s mural program has brought to the streets over the last few years. As the daughter of two musicians and the granddaughter of an artist, I love being surrounded by art. So when I got to Mason my freshman year, it felt like something was missing on campus. Since then, I’ve been pursuing a vision of sorts with University Curator Don Russell - to bring professionally-designed, thoughtful murals to Mason’s Fairfax campus. I think I was also a little bit bored – I was used to having my time micromanaged in high school, and free time was unfamiliar and rather unwelcome.

My long-term goals are to follow my zany ideas wherever they may lead me. I am passionate about a lot of causes – the environment, women’s rights, education, the arts, access to opportunity, and good governance – and want to make positive impacts wherever I can and for whichever of these causes I am able to touch. More in the short-term, I am already thinking of projects to do after the mural festival.  I’d like to work on an environmental cleanup project, for example, but I also had an idea for connecting vulnerable populations with animals that are up for adoption. This project has also introduced me to a lot of people in the art community, and I really value that as well. I’m not sure what that has to do with my future plans just yet, but I can only imagine that that network will come in handy.

On a weekly basis, I meet with the volunteers on the project as well as the other University institutions that we interact with, such as Facilities and Event Services. We’re currently preparing for our soft opening on April 7th, so it’s been a lot of event planning. I also have been doing independent research in Provisions Library (in the Art and Design Building) on the history of muralism.

I’ve learned countless things during this process, but the biggest have all been life lessons. I’ve been growing a lot as a leader, a professional, and an individual during this process and had some pretty serious growing pains. I’m learning how to manage stress, how to take responsibility and delegate, how to stand up for myself, and most importantly, how to believe in myself.