Art can play a profound role in connecting those from all walks of life. For four UIW freshmen, this could not be more true as the quartet meet every week in front of UIW’s mural, “The Source of Life.”

UIW freshmen Camila Melero, Ixtaccihuatl Obregón, Savina Garza and Cindy Perez, who are all roommates in Agnese Sosa residence hall, have found the mural to be a place of solace and friendship. Each week, they meet to share about their lives and draw inspiration from the changing colors of the mural.

“We talk about our classes,” said Melero, a communication arts major from Dallas, Texas. “We reflect on our day. What was bad. What was good. What we could have done to make it better. We try to be as supportive as we can with each other.”

Prior to the beginning of their first semester, when they found out who their roommates would be, the four friends connected via social media, thus planting the seed of friendship. After arriving on campus, their discovery of the mural was a chance encounter.

(L-R) Obregón, Garza, Perez, and Melero.

“We first started exploring the campus the first couple of weeks,” recalled Obregón, a mathematics and biology major from Mission, Texas. “We didn’t know the mural lit up at night and we hung around for a good 30 minutes just looking.”

More than just providing a sense of community for them, the altering colors of the mural have an impact as well.

“Some of the colors they resemble a sun and river and they represent reflections of us,” shared Obregón. “And we discuss what the colors mean to us. When it’s blue, it’s calming and when it’s red, it’s very active. It makes you see the bigger picture and I see the colors as different emotions.”

During one of their meetings, the freshmen had the opportunity to speak with the mural’s artist, Cakky Brawley, who just happened to be on campus that evening.

“I remember her telling us that one of the outcomes that she wanted was for people to go and sit in front of it and have a conversation,” said Perez, a rehabilitative science major and New Braunfels, Texas native. “We told her that was what we were doing before she even shared that.”

Though the friends would like to see more students use the mural as a source of community and dialogue, they admit their group will continue to meet just the four of them.

“I would like to see it expand but for other groups,” said Obregón, “it would help bring people together.”

“We plan to continue meeting. It’s always us four. We are roommates and we are always together,” said Melero. “We found a spot that we loved. So we’ve always tried to keep that connection.”

The mural was made possible by the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts.

By Brance Arnold ’10 MA