Indiana State University Newsroom

Inter(national) Mural: Art student creates global teaching tool

July 12, 2012

When Indiana State students glance at the globe's national flags that are part of a new mural, they will know where they can work toward their college degree.

ISU senior Lindy Reeves painted the new global mural in the lobby of Rhoads Hall, home to the Office of International Programs and Services and Study Abroad Office. The artwork features a map with the countries where ISU students can or have studied depicted by their national flags while the rest of the world is "greened out." Reeves conceived of the creative way the countries were depicted after discussing the idea with Janis Halpern, director of academic programs abroad, who wanted the nations where students can travel to stand out.

"When you think of something, it's only a figment of your imagination," Halpern said. "But then to see that figment of your imagination appear so colorfully on the wall in such a proportion, you just feel fantastic."

Halpern's move to the first floor of the residence hall features lobby space where brochures and other information about study abroad programs will be available to students. She wanted to fill the nearby wall space, and had considered a map that had been used near her former Stalker Hall office before deciding on the new mural.

In all, the flags of nearly 60 nations are represented on the 8-foot by 10-foot mural.

"I am just so impressed by each new flag and new country that she is putting up, and how detailed she has painted them," Halpern said.

Reeves had previous experience with such large artwork. In summer 2010, the fine arts major from Tilton, Ill., volunteered with The Walldogs, a nonprofit organization that works with cities to paint historic wall advertisements.

The international mural is her first commissioned artwork.

"It's been wonderful," Reeves said of the experience. "I'm enjoying everyone coming in and giving feedback."

Reeves took great detail to replicate everything as accurately as possible. To depict the dimensions of the continents, she brought in a projector that displayed the image while penciling in the outlines of different nations. She then went country by country, starting with North America and South America, painting the national flags where ISU has study abroad partnerships with colleges and universities.

"I love that it's something that everyone's going to see and people are excited about it," Reeves said.

She was nominated for the project by Nancy Nichols-Pethick, associate professor of painting. Halpern had contacted her for a student to work on the project, and Nichols-Pethick nominated the "careful, meticulous painter."

"I knew the mural would require a high level of detail and accuracy, and these are things that Lindy does very well," she said. "She's also a hard worker, with a lot of integrity, so I knew she'd be the perfect person for the job."

The mural also serves an interactive, teaching component for Halpern. When she speaks with students, they are often pondering places to go. With the help of the mural, she can now point out potential countries of interest on the map so students can get a better idea of how it would fit into the goals for the semester broad, such as studying in a particular region of the world.

"I really see a fabulous educational tool that can be used for discussions about what would happen when they go to certain parts of the world," Halpern said. "For example, when they look at Latin America, and say they want to study in Brazil, people in the country speak Portuguese. It's close to Spanish, but if a student goes to neighboring countries, they're going to be speaking Spanish, and so we can take a look at all the countries that are Spanish-speaking. So they can really see where everything is."

The mural is the finishing touch on the newly renovated lobby area in Rhoads Hall. Halpern has already introduced the area to many incoming first-year students during orientation sessions this summer, where she encouraged students to visit the area and socialize.

"What we're hoping is lots of activity," Halpern said, "and lots of students coming, and at least being curious."

Photo: (ISU/Rachel Keyes)Indiana State University senior Lindy Reeves paints the flag of a western European nation as part of a mural in the lobby area of Rhoads Hall near the Study Abroad Office. The mural features the flags of the world painted on the countries where ISU has study abroad partnerships where Indiana State students can study.

Photo: Indiana State University senior Lindy Reeves paints a national flag on a mural in Rhoads Hall, near the ISU Study Abroad Office. The mural depicts countries where ISU has partnerships with other universities for students to study abroad. The artwork is Reeves's first commissioned mural.

Photo: (ISU/Rachel Keyes)A close-up of Brazil on the international mural in Rhoads Hall.

Contact: Janis Halpern, director, academic programs abroad, Indiana State University, 812-237-3427 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

Senior Lindy Reeves painted the new global mural in the lobby of Rhoads Hall near the Study Abroad Office. The artwork features a map with the countries where ISU students can or have studied depicted by their national flags.

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