Learning center

Local artist updates Cogdell Learning Center mural

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

“I was trying to reproduce the mural according to the original design, but it definitely had my input on the colors and a lot of other things,” Pontious said. “There is a lot of history behind this mural, so I tried to keep everything where it was before the sun went down. The artwork was very interesting to recreate.”

Pontious was able to mix regular interior and exterior paint to create all of the colors in the mural. She works with the biggest brush she can find.

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

The Cogdell Learning Center’s 25th anniversary celebration will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Friday at 201 W. Florida St.

Pontious started drawing at a very young age and his favorite canvas was the same as it is today: the walls.

“I started drawing on the walls when I was 3,” Pontious said. “My mom didn’t like it, but that’s where I started. I was very industrious; I would confiscate all the scrap paper in the house, and cut the side of the brown paper grocery bags, pull out the bottom, and iron it flat to draw on. “

The multicultural mural at the Cogdell Learning Center features flowers, animals and five large faces: a Caucasian American, a Native American, an Asian American, a Hispanic American, and an African American. Its intricate background includes warm and cool colors as well as dwellings, trees and statues.

The project was completed just in time for the Cogdell Learning Center’s 25th anniversary celebration, which will take place on Friday.

Carol Subia, administrator of the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship, worked with Cogdell until his death in 1997. She said he would have loved the mural.

“The mural is a representation of the many different cultures that have passed through the Codgell Learning Center,” said Subia. “Mr. Cogdell loved this area, his desire was to someday provide a way for the community on the south side to have an avenue for higher education. He felt particularly close to the Hispanic community. The mural depicts a photo. of MC bridging the gap for first-generation academics. ”

Employees at the Cogdell Learning Center help residents apply to college, get financial aid, and enroll. Courses taught at the center include English as a Second Language, US Citizenship, and GED Preparation. Staff at Midland College Business & Economic Development Center, also housed in Cogdell, help residents improve their credit scores, prepare for homeownership and / or start a small business.

“In the first 25 years of operation, the Cogdell Learning Center has opened doors to opportunity and made many dreams come true,” said Subia. “Mr. Cogdell would be very pleased with the (number) of academics who have benefited from his scholarship and the various programs offered at the Cogdell Learning Center. I can just see him now smiling with great pride and satisfaction. “

The Cogdell Scholarship pays tuition, fees, and books in the state for MC students. After earning their associate degree, they may continue to receive the scholarship if they are studying for a bachelor’s degree in MC or transferring to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Subia, who graduated from Midland College in 1988 with a degree in business administration, is the first college graduate in her family. The Cogdell Learning Center did not exist at the time, but Subia said she would have loved to have the help provided by the center.

“As a first generation student, I remember it was a challenge,” she said. “First, I was shy and didn’t know where to go for advice or help. Second, I felt lonely and discouraged. Being a Trustee of the Bill Pace Cogdell Fellowship has been an honor to be a local resident. “

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