Vibrant colors and mythical creatures take over the Booth Hall elevator

Emma McCarthy, a fourth-year illustration student, created a new mural for the space

Aum Patel

Fourth-year student Emma McCarthy spent over 50 hours creating the new mural, from sanding and priming the walls to the final line-work details.

Dragons have been spotted in the Booth Hall elevator, and they brought an explosion of color with them. A new whimsical mural, painted by fourth-year student Emma McCarthy, debuted in the elevator just before the November holiday break. The artwork adds some vibrancy to the formerly dark-colored walls.

McCarthy, an illustration major from Mexico, N.Y., has been interested in mural painting since she created her first mural in high school. After seeing how RIT’s College of Art and Design (CAD) refreshed the Booth Hall lobby area outside of Bevier Gallery this past summer, McCarthy’s creativity was sparked.

“Before I painted it, the elevator always had a lot of graffiti on it. So, I thought it would be a good place to have a crazy, loud mural,” said McCarthy. “I’ve heard a lot of feedback already and people are really excited about it. I’m hoping that in the future this could branch out into the hallways of the building so we can add more color and authentic student art to the white walls.”

McCarthy approached Elizabeth Kronfield, director of CAD’s School of Art and School for American Crafts, with the idea for an elevator mural in September, and it took just shy of one month to get the mural approved by the university. After gathering supplies and making a game plan, McCarthy started work on the mural on Nov. 15. It took her roughly one week to finish, and the elevator remained in operation throughout the process so as not to disrupt traffic in the building.

“Opportunities like this are valuable for our students on both sides of the experience. For the student who paints the mural, there is a level of achievement and confidence that comes with an accomplishment like this,” said Kronfield. “On the other hand, being exposed to creative work happening in the college gives other students something to aspire to, and it can even inspire future muralists. Whenever we show the work of our students in a public venue like this, everyone can benefit.”

Going forward, the School of Art hopes to refresh the space with a new mural a few times throughout the year. While a schedule isn’t set, Kronfield shared that the process will be similar to CAD’s Chase the Case competition— which is an open call for art where students enter proposals to curate a site-specific art installation and a winner is chosen by a selection committee— but the mural contest will be exclusively available to students in the undergraduate illustration program. In addition to the opportunity to paint a mural in the elevator, Kronfield shared that the selected students will also receive a monetary prize.

Details regarding the future murals are still in flux, but those interested in learning more can contact RIT’s School of Art office at See more of McCarthy’s art on her Instagram.

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