TAMU-CC Graphic Design Students Beautify Bell Library Stairwell with Interactive Islander Themed Mural

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Through a collaborative effort between the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Graphic Design Student Organization and the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, a largely unused stairwell has been converted into a must-see experience.

On March 21, a fully immersive mural was unveiled that can now be found in the back stairwell of the Bell Library. The colorful mural features an underwater theme including sharks, fish, and scuba divers along with Islander traditions and themes like the class ring, Momentum wave, Hector P. Garcia statue, palm trees, cats, and more. The pinnacle of the installation is a graduation scene, complete with the iconic Islander lei. Photo opportunities come to life when visitors follow the Bell Library @tamucclibrary on Instagram and select from three photo filters in the space which will activate a shark bite, a scuba mask experience, and an Alumni Forever filter frame.

Nancy Miller, TAMU-CC Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Faculty Advisor for the Graphic Design Student Organization, said the beautification of the space and the mural experience aims to draw students and campus visitors to the Bell Library.

“One goal of this project is to increase foot traffic in an underutilized stairwell and disseminate messages of creativity and growth,” Miller said. “Another hope is that our Islander community will gain an uplifting and inspirational experience to be had in-person at the mural and online through social media that drives exploration, collaboration, and engagement with the university’s library.”

The stairwell mural was a collaborative effort by 11 graphic design majors including Lauren Burdette, Victoria Contreras, Chris Gonzales, Colby Gregory, Sarah Hebel, Chloe Hill, Caleb Prouty, Hameen Reynolds, Jared Rios, Jacob Schirmer, and Richard Solis. They were led by Miller and Joshua Duttweiler, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Graphic Design.

Before the mural was created, students broke into small groups to pitch their ideas for the project. Ultimately, it was Burdette’s concept of “student life” that was selected. Throughout the process, Burdette created rough compositional sketches for the walls and watched as her vision came to life as her fellow design students combined their ideas to execute the art for each surface area of the stairwell.

Burdette said the mural is more than just a design project – it’s a reflection of the unique journey led by students on the Island campus.

“When approaching this project, I wanted to create something all students could look at and see themselves in,” Burdette ‘24 said. “I thought of all the little quirky things that I love about being a student at TAMU-CC and sketched out scenes from everyday life as a student on the island. From the long line at Starbucks, lost expo markers in the library, and the beloved campus cats, I hope this mural is something students can look at and think of all their good times on campus.”

Once the student designers combined their ideas together, they pitched their idea to library administrators including Dr. Catherine Rudowsky, Dean of Libraries, and Jennifer Anderson, Bell Library Head of User Engagement.

“I am in awe of the creative genius of the graphic design students who took a kernel of an idea and created an over-the-top interactive experience for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members alike,” Rudowsky said. “The stairwell comes to life, not just with artistic imagery, but by telling a story and allowing people to interact with that story. I am truly without words to describe the experience, and I encourage you all to participate and encounter the enchantment for yourself.”

To experience the mural, Islanders can visit the stairwell during library hours.