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Photo gallery Mural painting brings community together at UW South Madison Partnership

August 19, 2022

A group of volunteers gathered Thursday at the UW South Madison Partnership to paint murals designed by Madison-based artist and UW–Madison alumna Lilada Gee.

“I’m hoping these portraits represent the need to remember the individual within the community,” Gee said. “While this is a community space, each of us has different needs and experiences and expression. So even as we think of community, I’d like us to remember that there are multiple experiences within those communities.”

The mural painting project was developed in collaboration with UW South Madison Partnership staff, the paint company PPG’s Colorful Communities program, and campus partners such as the UW Bridge Program to the Chemistry Doctorate, which aims to increase the number of students from under-represented minority groups who complete the Ph.D. degree in chemistry. The murals reflect Gee’s bold and colorful style and are designed to inspire the community and families that use the location for programming.

“I appreciate the humanity of this community mural painting, particularly seeing non-Black and non-women painting these images of Black and brown women and children,” Gee said. “When you paint someone, I think you have to step into their perspective and what their experience might be a little bit because you are helping to bring them to life.”

Four people apply paint to an intricate mural design on a wall.

From left to right, Kim Blair, senior director of development at the UW Foundation; Desiree Bates, co-lead on the UW Bridge to the Chemistry Doctorate Program and UW computational chemist; Shannon Brown, graduate student and Bridge Fellow; and Candace Patterson, South Madison Partnership coordinator, work on a mural on the wall of the Kids Classroom. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A woman stands in front of a sketch for a mural, that's unfinished.

Madison-based artist Lilada Gee poses for a portrait in front of one of her mural designs at UW South Madison Partnership. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A woman holds a paint roller and paints a wall.

Julie Rae, assistant director of engineering career services in the College of Engineering, rolls on paint. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A man paints on an almost completed mural on a wall.

Matt Faber, an employee of the paint company PPG, adds finishing touches to a mural. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Paint brushes sit on cans of brightly colored paint.

Mural artist Lilada Gee chose bright colors with names like “healing plant,” “diva glam,” and “unmellow yellow.” Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A mural is pictured at the end of a hallway, with two people looking at it.

Zhenyu Zhao, a UW business school graduate student, paints a mural while Bob Hamers, co-lead on the UW Bridge to the Chemistry Doctorate Program, steps back to look at their work. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A woman paints on the mural.

South Madison Partnership coordinator Candace Patterson smiles while painting. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Two people paint on the mural.

From left to right, Patricia Armenta, UW chemistry graduate student and Bridge Fellow; and Dean Welch, business engagement manager with the Office of Business Engagement, work on a mural. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A close-up of a paint brush applying paint to the mural.

Patricia Armenta, chemistry graduate student and Bridge Fellow, paints a fine black line. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

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