UNO Illustrates the Impacts of Climate Change with Campus Art

University Affiliate, Keep UNO Beautiful at the University of New Orleans, called on the talents of fine arts students to transform a set of utility doors on campus into a stunning mural depicting Pine Warblers, a bird species in Louisiana impacted by climate change.


This campus beautification project was inspired by the National Audubon Society’s Mural Project, a public art initiative in New York City commissioning artists to paint murals of threatened birds included in Audubon’s report, “Survival By Degrees.”


Carol Lunn, UNO’s Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development, led the campus mural project and was happy to collaborate with Kathy Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, and her students.


Rodriguez explained, “Working collaboratively with so many moving parts on this mural, the first of its kind in Louisiana, has given not only the class, but all members of the UNO community a rich and expansive opportunity for learning. I’m grateful to be able to share my experience painting in this format with our students and to learn from them.”


The student artists had the chance to meet virtually with Avi Gitler, one of the co-founders of the mural project in New York. They also met Dr. Erik Johnson, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Delta, who joined them remotely and discussed the vital connections between local and migratory bird populations and the regional landscape. Inspired by their guest speakers, the students spent time researching bird species and submitted designs for consideration. The selected design was created by Jamie Risbourg, a junior studying studio arts.


Watch this video to learn more about UNO’s new mural and accompanying native plant garden – all made possible by Keep UNO Beautiful, the UNO Office of Research, the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans, and Audubon Delta. Additional information can also be found in this article on the UNO website.

Video credit: Audubon Delta

Learn about the University Affiliate program here.