News 11's Adonis Albright speaks with AWC to learn more about the art's message and other projects underway
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Western College (AWC) recently unveiled a new mural on campus as part of the college's Innovation Fund 2021. The creator, Lia Littlewood, is a local artist who has painted hundreds of other murals around Yuma County. She is also a graduate of AWC.
The mural, painted on the learning resource center, depicts a rainbow-colored butterfly surrounded by an Arizona sunset. The piece, also located next to the campus' LGBTQ+ resource center, symbolizes inclusivity for all students.
“The theme of this mural is transforming lives, and so it does celebrate our college’s mission to be a safe space, to be a culturally diverse space to be respectful, to honor each person’s individuality so this does have an LGBTQ theme, we’re very proud of that, but it’s also really about the larger mission of how higher education helps people transform their lives, and change not only their lives and their families’ lives, but really their whole community", said Lorraine Stofft, the Vice President for Advancement at AWC.
Littlewood worked with the college's creative director, Leah McKeogh, to draft this piece. In the course of a week, she worked with AWC faculty and other students to help put it all together.
This is just one of six other ongoing projects currently underway. Among them is a "career closet", where students who are transitioning out of college and into the workforce can pick out free clothes for their job interviews.
Students are also working on digital Matador display for high schools across the county, which will show what kind of programs and opportunities are available for students should they choose to enroll at AWC.
Another exciting prospect for the college is an Esports arena, which is comprised of a brand new team competing at the NGACAA level. According to AWC, this is a huge recruiting tool for colleges and universities across the country. Thanks to the innovation fund, the school has been able to invest in all sorts of opportunities.
“We’ve awarded about $400,000 for 37 projects over four years. Every year, we have a couple of student projects, we’ve had projects up in our Parker campus, so we’ve had a really wide range."
To learn more about the local artist behind this mural, as well as the other pieces she's created, click here.