Stroll through a college campus and you’re bound to come across impressive portraits of founders, donors, and noteworthy professors. But what about all the other people who make universities great?
That’s why Princeton decided to feature more campus employees through a stunning series of paintings by Mario Moore.
A former Princeton Hodder Fellow, 32-year-old Mario wanted to pay tribute to his alma mater’s less-recognized workers: the dedicated blue-collar individuals who maintain the grounds, serve food, and provide security.
Mario’s own father supported their family through similar jobs, so this was Mario’s way of putting incredible people like him into “positions of power.” The end result was 10 breathtaking oil portraits that are on display around Princeton’s campus.
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“I wanted to get input from them (my subjects) about how they wanted to be represented,” Mario explained. “It was a communal effort. In order for me to make a painting genuine, I needed to connect with them.”
Initially, Mario only intended to do portraits of men, but then he met dining hall employee Valeria Sykes, who showed him how influential female workers were at Princeton. To thank Valeria for her insights, he included a portrait of her doing her favorite activity: washing her car.
As for the school itself, spokesperson Ben Chang said they’re looking forward to seeing how the paintings will give future generations of students better perspective.
“Mario’s portraits capture beautifully the character and contributions of valued members of our campus community and bolster our broader efforts to ensure Princeton’s portraiture and iconography reflect the university’s values and diversity,” he said.
What a wonderful way for Mario to not only honor valuable members of the school, but to also recognize his father! You can see more of the beautiful paintings on his website.
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