A mural dilemma: Looking for inspiration on the Leo’s wall

March 31, 2011

Like almost every Georgetown student, I don’t enjoy much of the time I spend in Leo’s. But it’s not the food that bothers me. I love the “Flavors of Home” line, I love the sweet potatoes and the white sauce on the boiled noodles, and I love making myself waffles downstairs. People who complain about the food in Leo’s are either spoiled or not hungry enough. But, though it has nothing to do with the dining hall’s gastronomic offerings, my lunches and dinners are still unsatisfying.

It’s the mural on the top floor that gets to me. Whenever I’m happily eating my fill of steamed corn and oatmeal raisin cookies, my whole meal experience is disrupted every time I look up at that stupid wall-to-wall painting of students sitting in a classroom, playing lacrosse, and graduating. I’m sick of it. It’s tame and uninspiring, boring and inoffensive. I’m tired of looking at the guy in the classroom’s misspelled “Georgtwon” t-shirt (seriously, look closely next time), and I’m tired of looking at Jonathan Wallace dribble a basketball on top of an open book. There’s no reason I should have to suffer through looking at such a bland mural while I’m enjoying my fresh salad wraps and made-to-order tacos.

I propose an annual competition in which students submit their own new designs for the mural, and everyone votes for a winner online. Ideally, Leo’s would host a week-long festival for painting and visual arts called “MuralFEST” during the voting period. MuralFEST will feature all kinds of student art, but most importantly it will showcase student submissions for the new panorama that will color the top floor. Leo’s staff already has experience throwing carnival-themed lunches and Super Bowl watch parties, so setting up a few exhibits for paintings shouldn’t be too hard.

Over the summer, the design that wins is painted over the old mural. That way, no matter how ugly or unprofessional the winning design is, we can all laugh at it for a year, and then, right when it starts to get old,  we would get a new one.

The biggest obstacle to this idea is the fact that Leo’s continues serving meals throughout the summer to high schoolers here on summer programs and whoever else is around. Having a full-scale painting operation in there would probably disrupt people’s eating schedules. If this proves to be an issue, the winning design could be printed on paper and then affixed to the wall relatively quickly by a team of students.

Unfortunately—and with all due respect to the Art Department and the people who go to the second floor of Walsh to paint—Georgetown students aren’t exactly known for their creativity or aptitude in the visual arts. In some years, the designs submitted to the competition might be so uninspiring that no one wins. In that case, the outgoing senior class would be forced to design the mural, as a way of preserving their legacy on campus, if only for a single year. Each graduating senior could sign a part of the mural, and the final total of their class’s donations to their senior fund would be listed as a way of shaming next year’s seniors to donate. As a last resort, if no one artist wins MuralFEST and the outgoing seniors refuse to participate, elementary school students from Trinity would be asked to design and paint it.

It shouldn’t be hard to convince Georgetown administrators of the merit of this idea. The biggest hurdle will probably be funding, though realistically, the actual costs won’t be too high. The mural will be painted by a team of unpaid student volunteers (ideally around 100 of them, so that the process only takes around a week), so the only costs will be a ton of paint and 100 paintbrushes. These costs are easily offset—all proceeds from paintings sold during MuralFEST will go towards funding the new mural.

This isn’t a joke. I’m really sick of this stupid mural ruining my time in Leo’s. We need something bold, something colorful, something that tests the boundaries of the dining hall mural as a medium of artistic expression. Let’s not let another generation of Georgetown students endure such a visually unstimulating dining experience. We can do this. Let’s change the mural at Leo’s.


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This was a waste of an article. “People who complain about the food in Leo’s are either spoiled or not hungry enough.” What do we say about people who complain about being “tired” of looking at “boring and inoffensive” wall decorations? I didn’t realize the Voice was so desperate to fill space.


Totally agree with “Dull” on this one. Personally, I’ve always liked the Leo’s mural. If it bothers you that much, take your food down to the lower level. Problem solved.


I think that there is some merit to this article. Honestly, the mural is bland. It says nothing about our student body. It doesn’t really instill a sense of school pride. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard friends and students make fun of the mural. And what’s wrong with being tired of a wall decoration? What does it say about us that we really don’t consider the impact of the visual language around us? MuralFEST is a fresh alternative to what we have now -dull, uninspiring, boring. It’s not wrong to want to make something beautiful.