Alumni Lead Mural Projects from Coast to Coast

Katie Ryan '06, Cecilia Ribakoff '05 and Daniel Ingroff '06 collaborate on a mural project funded by a community beautification grant in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles.

Cecilia Ribakoff '05, volunteer services coordinator for L.A. Family Housing, collaborated with 2006 Pitzer College art graduates Katie Ryan and Daniel Ingroff on a mural project in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in East Los Angeles. Katie and Daniel designed the mural using their knowledge of archaeology and natural history. Inside each washing machine is an archaeological stratigraphic diagram, graphically representing the layers of history that lie below the community that is contemporary Boyle Heights. In September 2007 approximately sixty volunteers from L.A. Housing, neighborhood residents, the William Morris Talent Agency and Pitzer alumni joined together to create the mural.

“For us at L.A. Family Housing, putting up this mural represented creating a safer transitional living space for our families who are fighting to get out of homelessness,” Cecilia said. “In addition, what made this experience so enjoyable was the fact that, after basically living together at Pitzer, Katie, Daniel and I fed off each other's strengths to make the project even more powerful.”

Rebecca Pfeffer '05 guides one of her students in the creation of their school's mural in New York City

Last year during her second year as a New York City Teaching Fellow at a Bedford-Stuyvesant school, Rebecca Pfeffer '05 organized the painting of a mural, which she hoped would be a helpful project for her students, all of whom were diagnosed with either emotional disturbances or autism. Rebecca and her students discussed the ways that they could contribute to cleaning up their own neighborhood and they realized that painting a large and colorful mural was a great first step. The students chose the theme of “Working Together We Can Clean Up Our World” and decided to paint the solar system. They spent months learning about the planets, stars and the moon through research projects and films as well as drawing up blueprints for the project.

The project earned them first place in a New York City-wide competition and an award of $6,000 to be used for desperately- needed computer equipment. “Perhaps more importantly,” Rebecca noted, “I was able to pass on some of the values that I gained at Pitzer to children who will hopefully be able to do the same.”