• Lillie Burke

Local artist teams up with Belmont for 125th anniversary mural

A local artist, James Threalkill, is in the process of creating a celebratory mural with the help of Belmont University’s faculty, staff and students.

The plan is to have students, faculty and anyone else at Belmont decorate styrofoam tiles to be arranged into a mosaic. Threalkill, a graduate of Vanderbilt, is the artist behind the mosaic. It’s a physical representation of what Belmont is as a university.

“It’s everybody who’s a part of Belmont,” said Joyce Searcy, director of community relations. “It bonds the Belmont community together. You’re a part of something much bigger. We can’t wait for people to see it.”

Threalkill is the national director of diversity for Skanska, which is an organization dedicated to creating a better life for everyone through an inclusive culture. He met Susan West, vice president and chief of staff, at Leadership Nashville in 2014.

“I’ve experienced his work. The project he’s doing for us, he did for Leadership Nashville,” West said. “It was just so interesting to see his creation. That is what inspired bringing it to Belmont.”

Threalkill already has about 250 tiles, but the university has more to give – Threalkill will make his last pickup in early December to officially begin the project.

“I’m already visualizing where the pieces will go,” he said at his convocation Oct. 30.

While the specifics of the mosaic depend on how many tiles are turned in, Threalkill thinks it will be around 4 feet by 6 feet in size. He’s working on the background and will see how everything fits together. Where the finished mosaic is displayed won’t be decided until it’s completed.

“It’s kind of like when you purchase portraits. You kind of have to see where it would be best,” West said. “I think it will be some place for all to enjoy because faculty, staff and students were a part of it. We want to see what it looks like first.”

The mosaic is going to be unveiled Jan. 25, 2016 at Belmont’s celebration of the its 125th year. Students can create tiles until Threalkill makes the final pickup by inquiring at the Office of Communications in Freeman Hall.

“I think the project represents the collaboration campus-wide,” Threalkill said. “All of us have creativity inside us.”

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