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Matt Terranova, CAS'06, stands in front of his mural of the UD campus.
artists may aspire to see their work hanging on a wall for public view,
but for University of Delaware alumnus Matt Terranova, his work often
is the wall itself.
Since graduating in 2006 from the visual communications program in the Department of Art and Design,
Terranova has developed something of a specialty as a muralist. He
particularly likes to paint creative, colorful and kid-friendly murals
in school buildings.
His latest work is an eye-catching depiction of the UD campus for
children, teachers, parents and visitors to enjoy at the Universitys Early Learning Center
(ELC). With its Wheres YoUDee? theme, the project encourages viewers
to search the mural not only for familiar places on campus but also for
various representations of the Universitys mascot.
I was very excited about the idea of incorporating a lot of things I
knew the kids would be familiar with, said Terranova, who was
contacted about the project by Jane Graci, the ELCs financial director.
I included their own school, of course, and the [UDairy] Creamery,
where I figured the giant ice cream cone would get their attention.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
As the mural progresses, Terranovas work draws the attention of students and teachers at the Early Learning Center.
Other especially recognizable places featured on the mural are
Delaware Stadium where fireworks explode overhead, as they do each
year during July Fourth festivities and Morris Library, which appears
to be partially constructed of books.
Students are shown studying, painting, carrying musical instruments,
playing volleyball and soccer, hurrying to class and sitting at tables
outside Trabant University Center and along Main Street. On South
Campus, a train travels under the South College Avenue railroad bridge,
and a profusion of plants can be seen in the College of Agriculture and
Natural Resources Fischer Greenhouse.
And in Recitation Hall, Terranova has painted himself at a drawing board, working on a sketch of the mural itself.
The ELC, operated by the College of Education and Human Development,
is not located on the central UD campus, and Terranova said his goal was
for the children to see their connections to the University community
and its many interesting activities.
A closeup of the mural shows Terranova at work in Recitation Hall.
I wanted to pull from a lot of different categories to show all the
different things you can do at UD, he said. My goal was for your eye
to move from vignette to vignette, to capture the kinetic energy of a
day in the life of the campus.
Terranova spent several weeks in preparation for the project,
taking photos and making sketches as he visited all parts of campus and
creating a scale mockup. After that, he spent about eight weeks in the
ELC itself, where he used tracing paper to transfer his sketches to the
wall and then began working with fast-drying acrylic paint.
The wall, just off the entrance lobby at the center, is a
high-traffic area, so he was constantly aware of people passing by.
Children, teachers and parents got used to seeing him at work and often
talked to him about his progress, he said.
Everyone was interested and had questions, and that was one of the best parts of the project, he said.
Terranova operates his own business, Colorful Matt Design, and does a
variety of types of artistic work, from illustration to graphic design
to working with a local interior decorator.
As a student in visual communications, he concentrated on
illustration. After graduating, he worked with a muralist for a time and
soon was asked to create a mural in Wilmingtons St. Thomas the Apostle
School, where he had attended elementary school. Hes also painted a
mural at St. Elizabeth High School, another of his alma maters.
So now, with this new UD project, Ive done murals at all three schools I graduated from, he said.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Jessica Peace
Published July 9, 2019