A prominent wall in Brookdale Community College Center for the Visual Arts (CVA) is getting a new painting. Aya Meqdad, a second-year architecture major and president of the Art Society, has been working on a fresh installation of one of the images included in this sprawling artwork that demonstrates the different periods of Art History in chronological order.

“Brookdale has really become like a second home to me and the mural I am painting, which is placed right outside of our lecture rooms in the CVA building, is my attempt to make the space more beautiful,” said Meqdad

Leading the first club meeting, Meqdad discussed with the members the replacing of the mural. Everyone made design suggestions, and then they voted. It was decided The School of Athens would replace the previous Renaissance painting The Creation of Adam. The club also decided to use some of the $600 in their budget to support the supplies needed to replace the old image and create a new one.

“The painting before mine had a lot of texture, so I had to scrape it off and sand it,” said Meqdad. “I had to rent an electric sander. After that, I had to spackle some holes in the wall, then painted the whole thing white and taped it up. That took two weeks.”

Other architecture students helped her put a grid on the wall using a chalk line. Then, because the hall has limited space for a projector to trace the work, Meqdad used her computer instead. She drew a grid on the source image, and a larger grid on the wall and then copied the painting square by square. She then started to draw in all the people. “That took absolutely forever. It took weeks of working hours and hours a day to draw,” she said. “Finally, I got so tired of drawing that I had to start painting.”

After going back to complete the drawing of all the people, Meqdad decided that it would be faster to use a charcoal transfer for the architecture and the sculptures at the bottom of the painting. So, using the plotter in the architecture room and the image she created with the grid, she printed it out in 24 x 36 sections. She then covered the back of those sections with charcoal, put them on the wall, and drew over them to transfer the picture.

Meqdad said she has received incredible encouragement throughout the entire process from her professors and peers, and The School of Athens is almost finished with a plan to be done by the end of the semester. Meqdad wants to include this installation in her architecture portfolio along with other paintings, graphic design work, photography, and drawings.

After Meqdad obtains her Associate Degree in Architecture from Brookdale, she hopes to earn her bachelor’s degree by transferring to an institution in Philadelphia. In addition, she is considering NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) in New Jersey, while also looking at Thomas Jefferson, Temple, and Drexel Universities.

There are currently 100 members participating in the Art Society. Their next project will have several members painting portraits of musicians in the library’s lower level, where music classes are held. According to their Constitution, the central theme is to be able to shine as individual artists but also to be able to carry an impressive, singular voice as a collective whole. It is open to all students interested in the visual arts and arts that appeal to the other senses, such as music and literature. For students interested in joining, visit brookdalecc.edu/art-society/.


About The School of Athens

The School of Athens is regarded as one of Raphael’s best-known works and has been described as “Raphael’s masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance.” Raphael was inspired by Leonardo’ da Vinci’s individual pursuits in theatre, engineering, optics, geometry, physiology, anatomy, history, architecture, and art. It depicts a congregation of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists from Ancient Greece, including Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Heraclitus. In addition, Raphael included his own “self-portrait” as well as a tribute to Michelangelo, whose likeness was used to depict the face of Bramante.