In various forms and fashions students leave their mark on their schools – often by bringing home trophies and ribbons or by waving a banner or marching in a parade. But Mineola High School graduate Lauren Miller Pitre has left something much more lasting and enlightening in a hallway at the Biology Department at The University of Texas at Tyler.
Miller, MHS class of 2011, comes from a family of creative folks and is the daughter of Alan and Lori Miller of Mineola. She and her husband, Jacob Pitre, live in Alba. She is a senior at UTT, studying fine arts, and says she has always been involved in fine arts.
So it was a natural evolution when a representative of the Biology Department at UT contacted the painting professor about creating a mural. The professor asked who in the painting class would be willing to do it. “She really had a couple of us in mind,” Pitre said.
At the beginning of last semester designs were presented to the head of the Biology Department and the Mineola graduate’s composition was chosen. “So I was kind of the leader of the mural,” she said. From that point the work began, although it was some time before paintbrushes actually touched the walls.
Pitre said she had a basic outline of what the mural was going to be, based on what the chairman of the department requested. The art major said that creating the mural required research and planning. About three months were spent in the planning process.
“I found imagery and came up with a dynamic composition that contained depth, symmetry, high detail and a narrative of living organisms,” she said.
“I chose a species scape to encompass the narrative. It depicts 19 kingdoms and shows a species out of each kingdom. The largest species on the wall depicts the most populated in nature. For instance, on the left side of the photo is a large beetle – insects. The smallest on the wall is the least populated – a small elephant – mammals. I also incorporated a DNA strand and Charles Darwin into the mural to show their importance in biology.”
The completion was celebrated with a ribboncutting during the first part of May attended by the dean and provo, faculty, staff, artists’ families and fellow art students. “It was nerve racking but well worth it when they ripped down the drop cloth revealing our finished product to the crowd,” Pitre said.
Pitre said this isn’t her first mural. In fact, she has done a few in East Texas Burger in Mineola, as well as in small businesses in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Also, she was a student in a mural class that painted a mural at the Discovery Science Place in Tyler.
“This latest mural at UT Tyler has been the most rewarding so far,” the Mineola graduate said. “It was a challenge and the most difficult, but the fellow students I worked with were amazing and we worked so well together. I can’t imagine doing that mural without them.”