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Northwest Missouri State University

Student Spotlight

Emily Stark recently finished a mural on an exterior wall near Maryville's downtown square. The mural is titled “Nurture and Grow.”

Emily Stark recently finished a mural on an exterior wall near Maryville's downtown square. The mural is titled “Nurture and Grow.” (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Nov. 15, 2017

Graphic design student adds to community art with mural

By Taylor Middleton, media relations assistant

A Northwest Missouri State University student was inspired to create a mural this fall in downtown Maryville after a summer internship that exposed her to public artwork.

Emily Stark, a senior graphic design major from Holt, Missouri, is painted the mural on the exterior wall of Northwest Audio Visual, on Market Street near the downtown square.

The mural is a colorful woman with long, flowing hair and a look of determination on her face. 

“I tend to gravitate toward drawing women a lot, and I just sort of wanted to have something that looked hopeful,” Stark said, adding the title of her mural is “Nurture and Grow.” “I want to plant a seed in Maryville that will nurture and grow the artistic community within the city.”

The mural is Stark’s senior show, a requirement of art majors to display a final piece of artwork prior to graduating.

Stark decided to create the mural after she interned during the summer with InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park, Kansas, and saw a need in Maryville for more murals and public artwork. 

Stark interned with muralist Nicole Emanuel and mosaic artist Julie Forsyth, and the internship provided her with experiences in design, website management and social media. She assisted on three public art collaborations, including a 16-foot mosaic mural installation.

The mural was Stark’s first experience working with a mosaic, and Forsyth taught her how to work with the materials.

“Throughout the duration of these projects I just I fell in love with public art,” Stark said. “I was incredibly inspired and motivated by the talent and passion of both Nicole and Julie, which led me to want to create a public art piece of my own. If I had not done the internship, the thought to paint this mural in Maryville probably never would have occurred to me.”

To create the mural, Stark completed a series of approval processes. She contacted Joyce Cronin, president of the Maryville Public Arts Committee (MPAC), who helped Stark push to get the project approved and find a location. They met with Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel, who viewed Stark’s sketches and ideas and approved the project. Cronin and MPAC contacted several local businesses, and Northwest Audio Visual agreed to provide an exterior space for the mural.

Stark says she has gained experience beyond displaying her artistic talents and developed more confidence as an artist. 

“The process of gaining approval taught me a lot about being able to advocate for myself as an artist and the ability to demonstrate the confidence and pride that I have my work,” Stark said. 

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468