Staff Artist Unveils Mural – The Highlander

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Michael Gombita, Reporter

Residents of the Rasmussen House have noticed something beautiful in the children’s play room.
A large mural, unveiled at the end of March, is the result of an agreement with artist David “Razz” Randazza to create something to entertain the kids while they are playing.
Randazza works in the maintenance department, but he is also a painter.
“When I had the time to paint it, we decided to do a tree with animals,” said Randazza. “Then we decided to put it in the playroom so the kids could see it.”
The Rasmussen House, located on the corner of Lake Street and W. Center Hill Road, accommodates six students who are in the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program. The house, which is designed for the needs of mothers and their children, offer rooms like the playroom to benefit the families.
The mural consists of a tree with various animals, including a blue jay, cardinal, opossum and two squirrels. The tree also has an interesting feature that has the children stretching their imaginations.
“There’s a hole in the tree, but there are eyes inside of it,” said Randazza “They are all wondering what it is, and that’s why I put it there so they can keep their interest up and they’ll be wondering what it is, and each kid has their own idea of what it is.”
The mural took Randazza only six to seven hours to complete.
“I think it brings a lot of energy to the room,” said Randazza. “The kids see it and it makes them jump around, and they get happy. It also lightens the room up and looks more like a playroom.”
This is not the first project that Randazza has done on campus. He has contributed his time to many other pieces around the university, including a mural outside the elevator on the first floor of Mercy Hall. He also restored the crucifix outside of the chapel, built a new tabernacle, and he has painted many signs. Randazza said he has painted hundreds of signs in the 20 years that he has been an employee.
“Most of the work I do here is very involved with my job,” said Randazza. “I also have my own side business doing signs, truck lettering and murals. When I do it at Misericordia, it is just for the college, and I do it just because I enjoy it.”
The Ramussen house has had many upgrades to the structure in addition to the newly installed mural.
Katherine Pohlidal, director of the WWC program, has seen the house grow, just like the children who live there.
“We have done a lot of changes to upgrade it and renovate it a bit,” said Pohlidal, “a lot of interior painting throughout the house in which Razz has helped us with as well, along with volunteer projects.”
Pohlidal said the main floors in the house have been redone and repainted and crews incorporated a study room and office for the WWC coordinator, Theresa Doughty. She said she feels confident improvements will feed the creativity of the house.
“We feel like we are getting in that creative zone where we are able to add in more of the aspects that add more energy and have an inviting atmosphere,” said Pohlidal. “We want the families extremely welcomed and to feel like they are at home.”
Doughty, who Randazza said came up with the idea of the tree, has brought the wilderness inside.
“It was an idea to bring the outdoors in,” said Doughty. “It also just makes it alive.”
Both Pohlidal and Doughty feel that it brings a special meaning to the house.
“It brings a lot of life into it and makes that space for the children,” said Doughty. “It is a source of exploration every time they look. There’s something new they see or it causes them to wonder a little. It is also something that engages them.”