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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Campus

UH to preserve artwork


The Chicano Mural, located in the Cougar Den, was created in 1973 by the Mexican-American Youth Organization and depicts the Chicano Movement of the 1960s.  |  Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

The Chicano Mural, located in the Cougar Den, was created in 1973 by the Mexican-American Youth Organization and depicts the Chicano Movement of the 1960s. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

A piece of history that has been serving as an overlooked backdrop for meetings in the Cougar Den will be preserved and relocated to a more prominent location in the new University Center.

Over the winter break, members of the Latino community were concerned with the fate of the nearly 40-year-old mural amidst the renovation of the UC.

“The mural is historic and symbolizes the political awakening of the Chicano community,” a petition to save the mural said. “It was completed at a pivotal point in the history of this country, and it is a testament to this history.”

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Kowalka has hired an art conservator who will preserve the artwork in the UC, including the Chicano Mural. The conservator will be in charge of adding touch-ups and cleaning the historical mural before submitting a written report to the University this month, Kowalka said.

“We’re the University of Houston. We pride ourselves on diversity with our student body,” computer engineering technology senior Mujtuba Khan said. “It would be very insensitive for the school to not give any importance to this piece of art and history,”.

The Chicano Mural is not the only artwork the University plans to preserve. The statue in the UC Arbor will be moved to the outside perimeter of the building because the new space will be interior and climate controlled.

“Just as with the mural, its move will be conducted by licensed art conservators,” Kowalka said.

As for plans for new artwork, artist Aaron Parazette is creating a proposal that the System Wide Art Acquisition Committee will review in the coming months. UC leadership, in conjunction with the UC Policy Board, is also looking at ways to have student art exhibitions.

One piece of art that is confirmed for the new building is a piece of steel from the World Trade Center that will be placed on display once the transformation is complete.

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