A new mural fosters feelings of joy, unity and pride

A new mural on the UAB campus captures what it means to be a Blazer and shares positive messages of resilience, wellness, empathy and joy, in vibrant greens, yellows and blues.
Written by: Haley Herfurth
Media contact: Adam Pope


After almost a year of planning, a new mural on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s campus captures what it means to be a Blazer in a variety of vibrant greens, yellows and blues.

Centered on the UAB institutional goal of changing lives through transformative health care, the mural shares positive messages of resilience, wellness, empathy and joy. It also incorporates UAB’s strategic plan, Forging the Future, and its shared values of innovation, stewardship, collaboration, respect, excellence and achievement, and diversity and inclusiveness.mural.3Photography: Kevin Storr

Kelan Mercer, creative services manager for the School of Health Professions, designed the mural, which is on the first floor of the School of Health Professions building. She says she wanted to create something that would be meaningful for all Blazers, but would especially resonate with the school family. She used color, shape and pattern to convey the movement of people working and collaborating, while keeping it simple enough to work in a color-by-number format.

“This mural was a fun and uplifting way to come back together after being apart this past year,” Mercer said. “It gave us a hands-on chance to contribute to something that will inspire positivity and make people smile. I hope it serves as a lasting reminder of who we are, what we stand for and what we can accomplish together.”

Darian Bester, who is pursuing her master’s degree in occupational therapy and helped paint the mural, says it demonstrates the school’s commitment not just to cultural diversity, but also to the health care professions.

mural.2Photography: Lexi Coon“Each profession is essential when providing quality care to our future clients,” Bester said. “Interdisciplinary engagement is what makes the biggest difference, and I am delighted to see this depicted within our mural.”

To help guide the group of more than 150 student and employee volunteers who worked in socially distanced groups to paint the mural in one week, local organization Mammoth Murals and Signs stenciled the wall before painting and provided on-site sanitization and direction during the painting process.

UAB Provost Pam Benoit, a painter herself, also joined the volunteer group to finalize the inspirational mural.

“I was honored to participate in this project, especially alongside students,” she said. “The final product was a group effort that really demonstrates the school’s mission. I think it ends up being more special because we did this together.”

Click through the slideshow below to see the mural come to life at the hands of Blazers volunteers.