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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr June 23, 2023

Emily Pounds, a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, created the mural that is displayed in the stairwell on the south side of the Susan Mott Webb Nutrition Sciences Building (WEBB). She used her artistic background to create a mural titled, “A Spot in the Sun.” We sat down with Pounds to discuss her upbringing, her connection to art, and what UAB means to her.

How do you feel about getting the opportunity to be a part of this project?

“I am so happy that the department is bringing art into our stairwells, because adding that component of beauty and culture – it makes this place a lot more rounded. I’m kind of in shock that I really get to do this. I’m excited because it is connected to me. I’m thankful to be part of a school that would let me share my gifts. Hopefully it will inspire people and make them feel happy to be there.”

Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and how your upbringing shaped you into who you are today.

“I was born in Pensacola, Florida, but I’ve lived in New Orleans and all over Texas. I’ve also lived overseas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Sale, Victoria, Australia; Stavanger, Norway. We moved every few years and that made me resilient. I made friends everywhere I went, and I still usually make friends everywhere I go. I love to meet new people – I like that sense of having a big network and big community around the world.”

Where did your love from art come from?

“I took art classes as a kid, but it was really seeing different landscapes, architectures, color – and experiencing a variety of sensual things with different smells, sights, and tastes. I also went to a lot of religious festivals overseas, which involve so many customs, colors, spices, oils, flowers and more.”

What was the inspiration behind your artwork?

“I like to look out the window, I love to look at flowers, and every time I look at a flower it makes me happy, so I try to bring more flowers into my environment. This was a good opportunity to provide people a burst of cheer in the stairwell. Plus, I am always cold in the building and this piece is warm. I’m drawn to warm colors because of a very rich experience in living abroad in southeast Asia where colors exploded into my life as a teenager. You see these Indian festivals with all the dyes, powders, and paints – and these were colors I had never seen before. I was bombarded with bright, pretty colors and I like being surrounded by that to this day.”

What does UAB mean to you?

“UAB is my home away from home. It has supported me mentally and obviously financially. It also has culture, which is very important to me. I love the diversity of the different people I’m able to work with and the dynamics of the international atmosphere on campus with students, faculty, staff, and projects. I love being around other excited people who are excited about nutrition and exercise and health and wellness. Finding leisure time – connecting with art and spirituality and other things connected with wellness are important to me because they improve my life, my work, and my relationships.”

See the Mural

To see Emily’s “A Spot in the Sun” mural in-person, visit the south stairwell in WEBB between the 4th and 5th floor.

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