Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Mural adds color, life to hall

November 9, 2000
A three-panel mural depicting the past, present and future of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources was recently unveiled at Agriculture Hall. The mural, painted by MSU artist Bob Brent, hangs over the west entrance of the building —

Agriculture Hall has a new gem welcoming people into its atrium.

The atrium connects the part of Agriculture Hall built in 1909 to the new annex of the building, which was completed earlier this year.

A mural, “ANR Past, Present and Future” hangs in the atrium. The mural is meant to serve as a legacy to Lynn Robertson, a long-time professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. His wife, Elizabeth Robertson, began the mural project before her death in December.

Sue Goepp, director of external relations for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said she worked with Elizabeth Robertson and the artist, Bob Brent, to get started on the mural.

“We just sat down and had some wonderful conversations with Ms. Robertson,” Goepp said. “They kind of bounced themes off back and forth from one another.”

And when Goepp was presented with the final idea for the mural, she said she couldn’t have been more pleased.

“It’s beautiful, I love it,” she said. “I think it really connects the history of the college and the university and how we’re moving towards the future.”

The mural, made up of three panels, has portions representing seeds of knowledge, agriculture, MSU’s history and MSU’s prospects. Faculty, staff and visitors are taking notice, too, Goepp said.

“I think it’s great for the university to have artwork in various public places and it’s especially nice for the college to have artwork that reflects our tradition and history,” she said.

“The annex was designed with the atrium and having that nice gathering space that connect the two buildings, we wanted to put some artwork in there to make it a nice place for students and others.”

Martha Hesse, Robertson’s daughter and a professor in the Office of the Provost, funded the mural that her mother initiated.

“She had seen the artist’s design panel and my brother and my sister and I knew of her commitment to fund the mural and so we did it,” she said. “It was really a privilege.”

Hesse said her mother would have loved the completed mural.

“I think she’d be just tickled,” she said. It’s more than agriculture across the ages - it really is the presence of teaching and learning and outreach across the ages, it’s more than agriculture. It really is.”

MSU’s history, plants, animals, water and sky were inspirations for the mural, Brent said.

“Basically, it’s a historical continuum for MSU,” said Brent, an MSUsenior graphic designer.

“It’s a pretty inspiring early history to the university, to the university particularly in regards to agriculture and the early students helped build the place and that’s how it starts out with Old College Hall and hopefully some of the efforts that helped develop the institution.”

Brent said he wanted the family as well as the people who visit the hall to be enhanced when they see the mural.

“I’d sort of like to see it take its own life,” he said. “If people like it and it stays up there for five or more years I’d see it as a success.”


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