St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

SBU community invited to contribute to mural project Tuesday at Warming House

Jun 10, 2022

Members of the St. Bonaventure community are invited to contribute to the “Heart of Olean Mural” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Warming House, 164 N. Union St.

Greg and Rebecca Simms donated $2,500 to sponsor the Warming House paint day. Greg is a 1987 alumnus of SBU who went to Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean. Rebecca graduated from Olean High.

“I’m grateful for the Simmses' generosity and really excited that the SBU community will be able to participate in this alongside our guests of the Warming House,” said Alice Miller Nation, director of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern. “We serve them, we eat with them and now we have the opportunity to work on a project for the Olean community with our guests. I think that is pretty cool.”

The name of the mural is “Vantage Point: Our Valley of the Sun” and is based on a poem by Olean native Robert Lax, a friend of Thomas Merton while Merton taught at St. Bonaventure in the early 1940s.

“We have a paint by numbers system that allows people of all ages and art skill levels to leave a mark on this project,” says Meg Saligman, the world-renowned artist and Olean native leading the project.

Work began May 18 on the large-scale mural that will cover each of the four exterior walls of JCC’s Library & Liberal Arts Center in Olean. Painting will continue throughout the summer. Saligman plans to dedicate the completed installation during the Oct. 7 StrOlean.

The Heart of Olean Mural is the latest in a long line of notable building installations Saligman has produced in the United States and internationally. Her landmark “Common Threads” mural in Philadelphia served as the backdrop for a scene from the popular television series “This Is Us” in 2019.

Her murals on buildings in Shreveport, Louisiana; Omaha, Nebraska; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, are among the 10 largest murals in the U.S. Saligman has also used her artistic talents to transform a theater in Mexico City, a water tower in Tanzania, and a village gathering site in Ecuador.

To learn more about Saligman’s Olean mural project, click here.