Campus / News / January 13, 2010

Caf prairie mural drafted for approval

A student-proposed design for the walls of The Hard Knox Café may bring the outside in. After a series of suggested color-schemes failed to please many students, one is working to negotiate the design and painting of a prairie mural in the cafeteria.

Fall term, the Student Senate Dining Services Committee proposed a color palette to brighten the walls of the Hard Knox Café. The initial color palette was met with overwhelming disapproval. Still looking to freshen up the look of the cafeteria, the committee consented to allow a professional painter to compile three different color schemes for students to vote on.

“They could have been bolder,” said Dining Services Direct Helmut Mayer of the latter three schemes. The cafeteria would have been painted during winter break, but no one pattern was preferred by the campus.

At this point, senior Lu Yaeger decided to take action.

“My whole family are professional artists,” said Yaeger. “When I saw the horrible colors, I thought about them.”

Yaeger’s mother, Barbara, father, Radeaux, and sister, Ann, are painters. Upon considering the individual talents of each member of her family, Yaeger came to the conclusion that a prairie mural would complement Knox’s heritage and her family’s strengths.

Yaeger’s father is interested in native plants while her mother studies birds.

Yaeger’s parents liked the idea, so she took it to President Taylor, Helmut Mayer, and Student Senate Dining Services Committee Chair Annika Paulsen.

“Helmut and I agreed that it sounded like a really cool idea. It would honor our famous prairies and solve the color crisis,” said Paulsen.

Mayer, intrigued by the plan, viewed samples of the family’s work online.

“It reminds me a lot of Escher,” said Mayer.

Yaeger’s family has never seen the Hard Knox Café, so dimensions and photos of the space currently aid them in the creation of a design.

The family and the school have yet to negotiate payment for the project, but Mayer is confident the plan will be realized.

“Anything to improve the mood of our customers,” he said.

If an agreement is reached and a design completed, students will vote on it. Students will also be encouraged to assist in the execution of the change.

“Students could do most of the work,” said Yaeger, noting that skilled student artists would be encouraged to take on most of the detail work.

The family plans to visit Knox for commencement and Yaeger hopes that they will be able to begin at that time.

To see the family’s work, visit

Sarah Colangelo

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