Student Stories

Interactive mural brings first-year students together

Logan Center Intern Margaret Hart shares experience designing collaborative student artwork

A female student poses for a headshot in front of a colorful background.
Margaret Hart (Photo by Zola Yi)

The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is the hub of arts programming on campus, offering dance studios, photography rooms, performance halls, and more across its nine floors. Every year, the arts community comes together for the annual Logan Party during Orientation Week, where incoming first-years learn more about the arts scene at UChicago.

The 2018 Logan Party featured an exclusive screening sponsored by A24 at UChicago of Ladybird, a student DJ, free food and merchandise, and a performing arts showcase featuring a variety of student groups in areas from dance to improv comedy.

The event also featured an 8-by-12-foot interactive mural designed by Margaret Hart, university arts engagement and marketing intern at the Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts. Throughout the evening, students collaborated with each other by adding their own colors and designs to the mural.

A second-year planning to major in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities, Hart noted the importance of having the Logan Center on campus as a centralized, interdisciplinary creative space. “I think it’s super important that it doesn’t just focus on one type of art. It’s really nice to have a space where a bunch of creative minds exist and work together,” she said.

Inspired by the close relationships she had developed with staff and faculty at her high school arts center, she knew Logan was somewhere she wanted to work.

“I was preparing myself to lose that personal connection to the space that everything was being made in,” she said. “I got [to UChicago] and I felt pretty removed from arts for a while because I wasn’t taking art classes during my first quarter.”

However, Hart knew she wanted to rebuild the same kinds of connections and continue her involvement with the arts on campus, so she joined the Logan Center Arts Liaisons and began reaching out to the Logan Center staff she met through this student group about open positions: “I asked if there was anything I could do, even clean the floor.”

She had never been involved with the administrative side of the arts before, but the staff member she reached out to needed an intern for arts programming. She began the position in March and worked through the summer full-time, expanding her role in programming to marketing and design as well.

Reflecting on her time there, she feels much more connected to the arts. “I’ve met a lot of people here and I’m starting to get that homey feeling back… it feels like a little funky family,” she said.

As part of her role, Hart was responsible for creating the Logan Party mural in addition to organizing the rest of the event. She began to work on the mural in the summer by drawing a composite design, then using a projector to sketch the design. Her design interspersed well-known motifs from Chicago, like elevated CTA trains and the Bean, alongside hallmarks from campus like Hull Gate and the silhouette of Logan itself. It also made sure to leave space for students to add their own unique flare, and the eventual mural—a hodgepodge of different colors and scenes—reflects that spirit of collaboration.

Apart from expressing artistic creativity, the mural also began to cultivate community.

“I also got to see kids making friends and talking to each other through painting the mural,” Hart said. “They really got up close to each other and a lot of them were lounging around and playing music.”

Hart looks back fondly at her summer spent cultivating the kind of community she sought when she first began to work at Logan.

“Designing the Logan Party was my position’s main summer project, and it was so fulfilling to see it come together,” said Hart. “Seeing the building come to life and be activated and energetic in so many different areas felt like I was seeing first-hand just how much this one building and the UChicago Arts program has to offer."