Facebook Pixel Code Local artist updates mural on Midland College’s Cogdell Learning Center

Local artist updates mural on Midland College’s Cogdell Learning Center April 10, 2019

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Janet Pontious

Midland College’s Cogdell Learning Center is getting a facelift. Local artist Janet Pontious won a $5,000 contest to paint a mural on the building.

“I was trying to reproduce the mural according to the original design, but it definitely has my input on the colors and many of the other things,” Pontious said. “There is a lot of history behind this mural, so I tried to keep everything right where it was before the sun faded it. The artwork has been very interesting to re-create.”

Pontious has been able to mix regular indoor-outdoor house paint to create all the colors for the mural. She works with the largest brush she can find, holding it from the tip of the brush.

“The brush has to be stiff; it has to have some strength to it,” Pontious said. “For details, I use smaller brushes, but with a piece this big I have some leeway. What I have learned from doing a lot of other murals is that people admire murals from a distance rather than up close.  Viewers do not usually see the details.”

Pontious started drawing when she was very young, and her preferred canvas was the same as it is now: walls.

“I started drawing on walls when I was three years old,” Pontious said. “My mother did not appreciate it, but that was where I got my start. I was very industrious; I would confiscate all the scratch paper in the house, and I would I would cut the side of brown paper grocery bags, take out the bottom and iron it flat to draw on it.”

The multicultural Cogdell Learning Center mural showcases several flowers, animals and five large faces which include one Caucasian American, one Native American, one Asian American, one Hispanic American and one African American. Its intricate background includes many warm and cool colors along with dwellings, trees and statues.

The project is completed just in time for Cogdell Learning Center’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, April 12 at 11:45. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the event at the Center, located at 201 W. Florida Street, just east of Big Spring Street.

Carol Subia is a trustee of the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship. The award was funded by Mr. Cogdell and pays for in-state tuition, fees and books for students at Midland College during the fall and spring semesters until they graduate with an associate degree. Students may then continue to receive the scholarship if they stay at Midland College working toward one of Midland College’s bachelor degrees or transfer to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Subia worked with Mr. Cogdell until his death in 1997. She says he would have loved the mural.

“The mural is a representation of the many different cultures that have been through the Codgell Learning Center,” Subia said. “Mr. Cogdell loved this area, his desire was to one day provide a way for the community of the south side to have an avenue for higher education.  He especially felt a close connection with the Hispanic community. The mural depicts a picture of MC bridging the gap for first generation scholars.”

Employees at the Cogdell Learning Center help residents apply for college, financial aid and get ready to register. In the classrooms, faculty teach English as a Second Language (ESL), U.S. citizenship, GED preparation and other classes. Staff of the Midland College Business & Economic Development Center, also housed at Cogdell, help Midland residents improve their credit score, prepare for home ownership and/or start a small business.

“During the first 25 years in operation, the Cogdell Learning Center has opened the doors of opportunity and has made many dreams come true,” said Subia. “Mr. Cogdell would be very pleased with the amount of scholars who have benefited from his scholarship and the diverse programs provided at the Cogdell Learning Center.  I can just see him now smiling with great pride and satisfaction.”

Graduating from Midland College in 1988 with a degree in Business Management, Subia is the first college graduate in her family. The Cogdell Learning Center did not exist then, but Subia says she would have loved to have the help that the Center provides.

“Being a first generation college student, I remember it was a challenge,” said Subia. “First, I was shy, and I did not know who to contact for advice or for help. Secondly, I felt alone and discouraged.  Being a trustee for the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship has been an honor to be part of bridging the gap for local residents.”

For more information about Cogdell Center visit midland.edu/cogdell

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