By: Sophie Edens, Public Relations & Marketing Intern
During the final event to celebrate Ball State’s Centennial on Friday, June 14, President Geoffrey Mearns unveiled a work of art created for Ball State University by artists in the community. This was done by the Muncie Artists Guild.
Each artist and guild member created an 18-by-18-inch panel that, when all 24 are combined, form the Beneficence Mural. Currently, the future home of the Beneficence Mural has yet to be determined. A campus-wide email was sent, asking Ball State University students where they believed the mural of Beneficence should be placed. It won’t be till later this summer that President Mearns will announce the mural’s future location.
For those unfamiliar with the beloved Beneficence who watches over the students of Ball State University, she is a bronze statue on the campus of Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana. She was created by Daniel Chester French in 1937.
She is lovingly referred to as Benny by students. She is an angel with outspread wings, her hand extended to the viewer. She symbolizes the generosity of the five Ball brothers whose land donation to the state of Indiana allowed Ball State to flourish.
Tiles have been used for quite some time as decoration, such as interior and exterior design. Functionally, tiles have been used for flooring and walls. Artistically, tiles can be used to tell stories or portray an idea. It is a different method of portrayal.
For example, on display in the blue room of the John J. and Angeline Pruis Gallery by the elevator, you will see a series of decorative tiles. One appears as a starfish, another of birds, one with eyes, a sun, and guitars — the artwork on these glazed tiles were designed by Salvador Dalí.
Salvador Dalí was commissioned by Maurice Duchin Inc. to design a series of tile images for production. Dalí reused themes from various paintings as he created his designs.
Dalí’s tile designs told a story. But Dali’s are not the only decorative tiles that can be found in the museum.
If you venture into the Frank and Rosemary Ball Gallery, the Edmund F. Petty Gallery, or the Margaret Ball Petty Corridor by Recital Hall, you will see some decorative wall tiles! American artist and educator Emest A. Batchelder designed these glazed tiles during the construction between 1924 and 1935.
These individual tiles depict Medieval and European Renaissance subjects, including birds, other animals, sailboats, and historical figures. Figures such as helmeted soldiers and graceful peacocks grace these relief tiles.
Somewhat surprisingly, many people ask about these tiles. It took me a while before I noticed them or regarded them as more than decoration. However, they can tell a story of their own.
So what do these tiles of Beneficence tell us?
She is a beloved symbol of our Ball State University, and a shining icon of our proud past and the bright future!
The new tile-mural shows the views of the artists as they thought of Beneficence, and how they should portray her. Everything from the color to the angle and the season shown depicts the story of Beneficence and what she means to the campus.
Tuesday, June 25th was the final day for people to cast their votes on where they believed Beneficence would best be placed. Exactly one month later on Thursday, July 25th, President Mearns sent another email announcing the forever home of the Beneficence Mural.
The mural will be installed in the first floor of the Art and Journalism Building (AJ), between the south entrance and The Atrium food court. AJ—also home to Ball State’s bookstore, an art gallery, and multiple academic programs—is a high-traffic area that will result in maximum exposure for the Beneficence Mural. Here, it can be admired by all. Over the course of the next few weeks, staff members will be installing the mural in its new home.