What is on the walls says a lot about a place.
Traditionally, blue walls indicate a boy sleeps and plays there, while pink walls indicate a girl. A wall covered in posters could signify the resident is a college student or a bachelor. Knickknacks and sunflowers might reveal a tender and attentive housewife, while the mounted heads of animals show the place is the home of a hunter.
But what about white walls?
White walls are a sign of impermanence or neglect. New homes and apartments have white walls so the owner can choose to customize them as he or she pleases. Works of art and decorations are a sign of creativity, a way to express interests, thoughts and feelings. Those who choose not to paint or hang decorations on white walls might not be attached to the place where they live—why spend the time on it if you’re not going to keep it?
It sends a strong message: I do not care about this place.
What, then, does Davis Hall say about our school? What message do the blank and often windowless walls of Coquina and Bayboro halls send to prospective students, faculty and staff and—more importantly—the students who come here now?
Do they say, “We want you to feel comfortable here. We want you to come to school, take pleasure in learning and your community, and go home a well-rounded person”?
Or do they say something less encouraging?
Something like: “Maybe you won’t notice. Maybe you don’t matter. Maybe you’re just a number, a couple of digits after a dollar sign on a piece of paper.”
Several weeks ago, SG Senators James Scott and Michael Jernigan sponsored a bill in the Student Government Senate. Bill S12-00X proposes creating an art committee at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and sets aside $10,000 as seed money to display art on campus.
Initial projects include a mural depicting student veterans from all branches of the armed forces, mosaics of Florida’s landscape and wildlife, sculptures of Florida-based imagery and clear cases that would allow student artwork to be easily rotated and replaced.
That bill has been put on hold. It does not yet have the full support of the senate, SG President Courtney Parrish, or Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan, who must sign off on the bill due to its cost.
Jernigan, who is blind, thinks it is ironic that he cares more about enriching the campus with artwork than most other people.
“USF St. Petersburg is at a point it has never been before. We are growing. We are growing beyond belief,” he said. “We want this artwork to grow with the university. If it doesn’t happen now, when will it?”
The walls can talk. And they speak volumes.