Conestoga news

July 7, 2023 11:07 AM

Student mural installation supports mental well-being on campus

A new mural installation at the college's Cambridge - Reuter Drive campus will support student and employee mental well-being. 

Conestoga College_Kevin mural.png
A new mural installation designed by 2023 Graphic Design graduate Kevin Farrugie will support mental well-being at Conestoga’s Cambridge - Reuter Drive campus.

The vinyl landscape piece was created by recent Conestoga Graphic Design graduate Kevin Farrugie as part of his final-year capstone project. Installed outside Student Success offices on the main floor, the mural features therapeutic imagery meant to support mental health.

"There is a lot of theory around nature and landscapes and how therapeutic and helpful that can be for our mental health," said Farrugie. “Research suggests that spending time in nature, or even just looking at nature through art, can help us feel calm, hopeful, and grounded in the moment.”

Farrugie studied fine art at the University of Waterloo, graduating in 2012 before completing a graduate-level diploma in art therapy at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute, followed by a Master of Theology, Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2016. He practiced in the field until the pandemic hit in 2020, taking the opportunity to shift his career to better align with his roots in art and design by enrolling in Conestoga's Graphic Design program.

"The program was exactly what I was looking for," said Farrugie. "With my different backgrounds, I really needed the technical skills to get where I wanted to be. The program was fantastic, and the faculty and my classmates were super supportive. I had a great three years."

The program includes a capstone project -- a culminating component in the final year to demonstrate the knowledge and skills students acquired over the length of the program. Farrugie pulled from his background to inform a project based in mental well-being.

“Therapeutic symbolism was used throughout the mural to speak subconsciously to students’ internal resources," Farrugie continued. "For instance, the tent depicted in the mural could symbolically represent a sense of safety, security, or a tranquil sanctuary where students and staff can seek temporary refuge during difficult times.”

The mural provides a peaceful distraction for students and employees as they take a break on the bench directly in front or wait for an appointment with Student Success. In addition to the mural, Farrugie also created an anti-stigma poster series as part of his capstone that post-secondary institutions could employ to help raise awareness about mental health issues and support.

Conestoga's three-year Graphic Design advanced diploma program is recognized as one of the top design programs in the province. It employs a project-based learning approach that addresses design, digital content creation, communication, inter-personal, mechanical, technical and enhanced employability skills.