The main interior wall of the student commons at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, got a little brighter in the fall of 2010 with the installation of THE BIG PRINT, a 5,000-square-foot mural comprising individual art pieces by 1,180 children and adults. The overall design of the mural, which evokes a Norwegian knitting pattern, was created by Kari Alberg.
The nonprofit arts organization ArtOrg sponsored the project and, with grant money from Forecast Public Art, organized summer printing events where children and adults could come and create prints. Each participant took home his or her print, but ArtOrg kept the printing blocks to use later for a collaborative project such as The Big Print. The printing events, which were free and open to the public (and likely always will be in the future), were held in 10 regional locations, including Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center.
The bright, almost electric colors enliven the large, stand-alone wall at the student center, and the Norwegian knitting pattern is a perfect thematic fit for a school named after the patron saint of Norway. The piece was installed in November 2010.