New student-painted poles featured on campus


Jana Dimikj

The pathway in front of the 900 building featuring newly painted poles. All poles on campus are designed by students. Photo by Jana Dimikj

Mimi Avalos and Jana Dimikj

Anyone walking through campus this year will be greeted with mystical mushrooms, vibrant forests, bright sunsets and other colorful designs painted by students. Since March 4, students have been able to submit their designs to paint a pole on campus. 

Senior Nandira Mahmud’s pole is a geometric design of Seattle’s skyline, featuring familiar white, green and blue colors. She said pretty postcards in Seattle’s gift shops inspired her and her friends’ pole. 

Mahmud said the activity has been a way for her and her friends to get together and start a fun, creative project. However, she said that painting a concrete pole turned out to be a challenge.

“Painting is hard, painting on a cylinder is even harder,” Mahmud said. Because of that, the design needed to be changed a bit to fit the task at hand.

“We were originally going to do a sunset in the background, but decided it would make it look too busy. A white background gave it a sense of simplicity that we liked,” Mahmud said.

Another pole on campus is sophomore Adriana Ghizila’s, which is a depiction of a forest with tiny people in it. 

“I was inspired by ‘The Borrowers’ and ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ where miniature people live in our giant world,” Ghizila said. “I wanted to paint a column at Inglemoor because I’ve always loved the idea of having something that I’ve made be permanent and immovable.”

As for her past experiences painting, Ghizila said she’s participated in other large-scale painting projects.

“I painted a large mural at my old middle school and worked with a friend on her Girl Scout project to paint many smaller painted signs for the school,” Ghizila said. 

Ghizila’s pole focuses on the color green; she said she hopes it will give off a sense of  freshness throughout the year. 

“I wanted to add green to the campus that would last year-long, not just seasonally,” Ghizila said. “It’s difficult getting paint colors right — colors tend to oxidize a bit and look different when they’re on a surface compared to when you’re actually mixing them.” 

One challenge that Ghizila said she faced with this project was reaching the tall column. 

“It’s also hard, as a short person, to reach all the higher spots — my arms do get tired,” she said.

Senior Cecilia Britten took on the project with the intention of bringing brightness on campus. Her design is minimalist and features a beautiful light orange color with white orbs.

“Most of the time when I create art, it just comes to me, but I guess my inspiration was to create a warming painting with bright colors and a sort of calming design,” Britten said. “I’ve always wanted to paint a mural, so I saw this opportunity and snatched it right up.” 

The pandemic has also proven to be a challenge for students painting poles this year. 

“With COVID-19, there has to be a lot of communication about being on campus and there are only certain times and days that I was able to get to the art supplies as well,” Britten said. 

If she were to name the design it would be named ‘Emotional Intelligence’ because of its significance. 

“It represents the importance of listening to your inner emotional world and that that type of intelligence is just as important as academic intelligence.”

Overall, the project has been a way to leave an impactful mark on campus, said Britten.

“To me it feels good to leave an artistic mark on campus not only because my work is there for everyone to see, but because I hope that future students will see the painting and maybe be inspired by the intentions behind it.”