Contact: Zack Plair
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The upcoming speakers for the Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design’s Harrison Lecture Series plan to leave a permanent impression of their visit to Starkville.
Architect Gregory Walker and artist Benjamin Wiemeyer, two of the partners in the Salt Lake City, Utah-based design firm WOW Atelier, will speak about their burgeoning young business at 4 p.m. Friday, April 15, in Harrison Auditorium at Giles Hall. Wiemeyer also will lecture to MSU architecture, art and design students throughout Friday on “Changing the Face of the World with Mural Painting.”
Beyond that, MSU has partnered with Wiemeyer and the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District to paint a graffiti-style mural on one of the walls in the Armstrong Middle School Gymnasium. Wiemeyer, who arrived in Starkville on April 4 and has already put in dozens of hours painting the mural, will unveil his latest work with a public ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday [April 14]. He also has interacted regularly with AMS and MSU students during his visit.
“I really like to paint, and I’m kind of excited to be painting somewhere new,” Wiemeyer said. “Everyone has been super warm and super accommodating. The kids seem to be stoked.”
The annual lecture series, which features speakers throughout the year who are professionals in architecture and related fields, is sponsored through a generous gift by Freda Wallace Harrison and Robert V. M. Harrison.
In 2012, Walker and Wiemeyer, along with Chimso Onwuegbu, co-founded WOW Atelier, a creative studio that specializes in a variety of areas, including architecture, graffiti, branding, exhibit design and fabrication, intermedia sculpture and painting. Walker holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Utah and has presented his work at Parsons New School for Design, the University of Utah’s City and Metropolitan and the AIA Western Mountain Region Conference. Wiemeyer has a degree in intermedia sculpture from the University of Utah.
Jacob Gines, assistant professor for the School of Architecture, said exposing MSU students to the work of a multi-disciplinary design studio—especially one that so heavily emphasizes art—may open their minds to more unconventional applications of architecture and design. He characterized the mural, which will grace a wall that is 100 feet long by 12 feet wide, as a dynamic piece focused on metamorphosis and featuring yellow jacket hives and swarms.
“Embedded in it will be the ideas of growth and maturity; leaving the hive to go out in the world to do something important,” Gines said.
AMS Principal Timothy Bourne said having Wiemeyer on campus has enriched his students, and he called the mural a “priceless” gift students, faculty and staff can enjoy for years to come. He even joked the experience might help some of his more mischievous students redirect some of their angst through more appropriate media.
“You know there are a lot of kids at Armstrong who like to draw on the walls, but obviously not on this level,” he said. “I want them to know from this experience that this can actually be a job.”
For more information on the College of Architecture, Art and Design, visit http://www.caad.msstate.edu/caad/home.php.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.