Baker Family Tree

Est. August 2021

702 Seventh Street

Lead Artist: Lisa Slavin

Baker Family Tree showcases Baker University history, traditions and culture. Baker University student Elaena Steffen envisioned the mural as part of a Baker University interterm course taught by Dr. Cassy Bailey. The inspiration for the mural design in Elaena’s words: “The idea behind this mural was a Baker family tree. It symbolizes that Baker is not just a college, not just a community, but a family.”

The tree is used to show the importance of the campus trees at Baker as well as the Maple Leaf Festival. As you look closer at the tree you can see each leaf is used to symbolize something important to the Baker family. Leaves depict Parmenter Hall, the grape arbor, and Taft Bridge, all of which have a rich history. One leaf shows Osborn Chapel symbolizing Baker’s faith background. Bagpipes and the university mace are used to signify unique and personal traditions. The football player high fiving fans shows the pride Baker takes in athletics, while a map represents international students. A leaf with people holding hands symbolizes unity and diversity at Baker. Another leaf depicts the future and all the potential Baker and its students have leading to success in a changing world.

Artist Apprentices: Ellis Conover and Jewel Marsh (Baldwin High School students); Elaena Steffen (Baker University student)

Timeline & Details: The Baker Family Mural was a $4,197 five month (April 2021 – August 2021) project of the Baldwin City Community Mural Program directed by the Lumberyard Arts Center, Baldwin City Library and the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce/Main Street, with Baker University partnership. The project produced a downtown mural located on the north side the Baker maintenance building, 702 Seventh Street showcasing Baker University’s history, traditions and culture (See Appendix II). Importantly, the project provided an innovative way for the Baker University community and citizens of all ages to engage with their community and with each other by leveraging the creative tool of community-participatory art. Specifically, the mural was created through Baker University course taught by Dr. Cassy Bailey reaching 30 Baker students who submitted designs for the mural. The chosen design, create by Elaena Steffen, was then modified to fit the side of the building by the core mural team consisting of lead artist, Lisa Slavin and mural apprentices, Elaena with Ellis Conover and Jewel Marsh, both Baldwin High School students. In total, 160 hours were devoted to the project including 125 hours (78 percent) by the core mural team and 36 hours (22 percent) by the Baldwin City Community Mural participants and community members. To celebrate the completion of the mural, the Baldwin City Chamber organized a ribbon cutting on Friday, August 20. The mural could not have been completed without the expertise and voluntarism of the Baker maintenance staff and the dedicated promotional expertise by Baker University marketing.  Additional project outputs include increased awareness and pride in Baldwin City and Baker University’s heritage; downtown beautification; local artist training; community building; and awareness of the Baldwin City Community Mural Program.