The Mural

In the Spring of 2022, Vassar students were asked by the Engaged Pluralism Initiative: What does community mean to them?

Answers included a sense of belonging and understanding, a shared meal, a commitment to one another, collaboration, tranquility, a loud and joyful space, balance, and the comfort and simplicity of sitting with people you love. Mary Haddad, a local Poughkeepsie artist, visually interpreted their definitions of community and created a collaborative paint-by-number piece.

A total of 73 people of all ages and artistic experiences, including Vassar students, staff, and students from the Poughkeepsie Public School District, volunteered to paint. Some painted for a few minutes, others for a few hours. Illustrating people of different backgrounds, the viewer can gaze at this image of a dynamic and diverse community eating, laughing, talking, and simply chillin’ out.

A painting of a large room with a lot of people in it. Some are sitting around a table with food; others are relaxing on couches. Everyone is having a good time.

“It was heartwarming to see people from all over campus come together and spend a few minutes or a whole hour getting to know each other and creating something beautiful!”

—Engaged Pluralism Newsletter, Fall ’22