Mary Harrison, staff writer
Berry students looking for Viking Cycle Works can now identify the shop by a new student-designed mural on the wall of the building. Sophomore Mia Irizarry, winner of a mural competition hosted on behalf of the student enterprise this spring, had her work unveiled in a ceremony at the bicycle shop on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Parker Radford, general manager of Viking Cycle Works, said that he and his team pitched the idea of a mural competition this spring to their parent group, the Center for Student Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Development (SEED). Students previously had difficulty finding the shop on campus, according to Radford.
“Now instead of saying ‘we’re the small barn with the chain-link cage,’ we can say, ‘we’re the barn with the massive mural on the back,’” Radford said.
Radford said that his team put out a survey in mid spring 2021 and asked artist-hopefuls to submit their designs via email. The entire process from putting out the surveys to selecting the winning design took about a month.
His team chose Irizarry’s work because she did the best job designing with the three criteria given for submissions: incorporating the Viking Cycle Works logo, bicycle-themed imagery and Berry’s official color scheme.
Construction on the mural began over the summer and finished two or three weeks ago, Radford said. The mural was covered by a sheet until its grand reveal last Saturday.
“I’m super excited about it,” Radford said. “I’ve worked there for two years, and it’s always been hard for people to find us. So, having this is really going to be awesome. And it just looks so good!”
SEED hosted the campus-wide mural competition for Viking Cycle Works as part of its inaugural “Innovation Week” in spring 2021, according to SEED Operations Coordinator Jorie Hodapp. Prizes for winning the contest were a year of free bike maintenance, a t-shirt and installation of the mural.
A t-shirt giveaway and free bike tune ups were also offered to students who attended Saturday’s ceremony. Hodapp said that her department waited to reveal the mural until the fall semester to generate excitement among Berry’s students.
“We [planned] the unveiling over the summer and just [tried] to pick a good time when students would be back and be able to see it and kind of make it a big deal,” Hodapp said. “It’s the first piece of artwork, really, over there, and it’s a big facelift for the shop.”
Irizarry, who was a freshman this spring, said she created her design for the mural on her iPad. The art took around three to four hours to make from conceptualization to submission, Irizarry estimated.
Irizarry said she took inspiration from other murals she has seen with block designs and strong forms, in addition to the required logos and Berry color scheme.
“It’s completely different from my normal style, which I thought was kind of fun because it got me out of my comfort zone a little,” Irizarry explained.
Along with the prizes, Irizarry said that the ability to leave a lasting impression on Berry’s campus motivated her to submit a design to the competition. At SEED’s request, Irizarry’s signature is featured prominently on a corner of the mural.
“I walk right out [of Deerfield] and I see my work,” Irizarry said. “It’s so surreal. It’s such a big version of the artwork.”
Irizarry’s artwork was installed by a Rome signage company, Hi-Tech Signs, according to Hodapp. The design is not painted on, but it is an enlarged printout of the graphic overlayed onto a frame that is attached to the shop’s wall. Hodapp said that SEED will perform any necessary upkeep on the mural in their regular maintenance protocols.
This was the first mural competition hosted by SEED, Hodapp said, although she foresees the opportunity for more design competitions arising in the future, including during this school year, which her department has designated as “Innovation Year”.
“This was a very student-driven effort,” Hodapp explained. “Between Parker [Radford] and his team putting it on, and then Mia [doing the design] that was spectacular, really all I did was connect A to B and help get a sign up on the barn.”