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Student art becomes the “mane” attraction

A pop-up art display featuring the king of the jungle has the TCNJ community roaring with excitement this summer.

The chalk drawings, created by Brianna Titus ’22 and Liz Stahl ’23, have been cropping up on exterior surfaces across campus — from the Golden Spiral outside the STEM Complex to the library and even on the side of the Brower Student Center. But those looking for the next piece have to act fast, as each image is at the mercy of Mother Nature.

“There is something really fun about chalk,” Titus says. “We’ve probably all used it as kids, and it is temporary, so it has to be enjoyed while it lasts. The urgency and temporary nature of working with chalk is fun.”

Titus and Stahl started in early July with installations on the chalkboards of the Golden Spiral and were curious to see the reaction to their public display. It wasn’t long before what began as a hunch turned into a hit, generating a substantial buzz on campus and on social media.

The growing excitement over the drawings prompted Erica Kalinowski, assistant dean for the School of the Arts and Communication, and Lindsay Barndt, director of student transitions, to ask the team to continue making their drawings during orientation week for first-year students, July 18–22.

“Originally, Lindsay and I thought this would be a beautiful addition for the School of Arts and Communication’s orientation day,” Kalinowski says. “But after chatting with Brianna and Liz, we determined that it would be a wonderful welcome for the entire four days of orientation. Our collective hope was that it would energize campus and make for beautiful photo ops.”

Titus and Stahl have completed a total of nine images on campus. Each takes anywhere from two to four hours from concept to completion, with the longest piece requiring eight hours over several days. As for future depictions of lions in their “natural habitat?” You’ll just have to stay tuned.

“It has been a delightful way to connect with more members of the community,” Stahl says. “I think it is a lovely reminder that human beings respond to art and like to have their spaces brightened up. I’m having a great time in this little moment.”

— David Pavlak


School of the Arts and Communication
Art and Interactive Multimedia Building
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628