May 16, 2014
12:40 PM
Connecticut Today

Central Connecticut State University Removes Student Murals for Construction Updates

Central Connecticut State University Removes Student Murals for Construction Updates

Mural in Copernicus Hall scheduled for removal from letter by Mike Alewitz.

There’s a controversy brewing at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) over the removal of a series of murals created by students in the school’s mural painting and street art program.

Associate professor and mural program coordinator Mike Alewitz posted a letter on Thursday, May 15, making people aware of the mural removal and asking for protest emails against the act.

According to the letter, “eighteen murals were either destroyed or are scheduled to be destroyed by the administration. There was no notification or justification to the artists, the faculty or department. Aside from the censorship of two controversial pieces, there seems to be no logic to the selection of these particular artworks for removal.”

(Mural about women in art and war has already been painted over, right.)

In an interview Friday, Alewitz reiterated his disdain for the removal, which he calls “arbitrary” and says there was no consultation with the art department concerning which murals would be taken down and why.

Whenever murals have been removed in the past (there have been several removed over the years) Alewitz says there was always conversations with the art department.

“If they had said there will be construction over here and we have to take it down, we would say then said it has to be taken down. We’ve always been very flexible. We understand that,” says Alewitz.

CCSU Media Relations Officer Janice Palmer says there has been a long-standing policy, since the inception of the mural program, that each semester the students are given 12 spaces throughout the school and then six weeks after the end of the semester they can be brought down.

This policy was established because, “we weren’t able to predict what our funding would be and if there would be construction work,” says Palmer.

("Designasaurs," above, and mural depicting street art, below.)

This year, the school is doing a number of upgrades to Copernicus Hall including the installation of televisions, which will be used to communicate with students and visitors, and additional signage.

Palmer confirms that there are 12 murals that will be coming down and six that have already been painted over.

“The good news is there will be new space for murals [next year],” says Palmer. “We’re not stopping the program.”

Alewitz believes this explanation isn’t true. His evidence is that there are murals scheduled for removal in places he doesn’t believe make any sense, such as stairwells. “A lot of these murals are in out-of-the-way places,” he says.

He admits that he doesn’t know the behind-the-scenes politics that may have gone into this decision, “but clearly they’re intent in getting rid of art work and it’s a disgrace,” he says. 

Palmer says there are over 200 murals on CCSU's campus. The mural program was launched in 2001. 

To read Alewitz's full letter click here. 

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazineon Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

 

Central Connecticut State University Removes Student Murals for Construction Updates

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