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University of Rhode Island to uncover murals and add context

July 1, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The University of Rhode Island has announced plans to preserve two 1950s murals by Arthur Sherman in the Memorial Union that were covered last year.

The university will add language to explain how the murals reflect a past era where school enrollment was predominantly male and white, the Providence Journal reported.

Sherman, a 1950 university graduate, went to the school on the GI Bill after serving as a combat medic in World War II. The murals were completed in 1954 and were drawn from Sherman’s memories of campus life.

According to Wednesday’s announcement, the university plans to commission new artwork to be displayed alongside the current murals to depict the campus life looks like now.

When the murals were covered in September, following questions about the lack of diversity depicted, the university said that they would not be a part of upcoming renovations to the student center.

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According to the announcement, the university’s senior leadership team unanimously accepted the recommendation of an advisory committee. The recommendation includes uncovering, cleaning and preserving the existing murals; adding context about Sherman’s service to the country, the university and the community; adding language explaining the intent of the murals; and commissioning a work of art of similar size “to depict diverse university life as it is today.”