Art Undergrad's Mural Paves the Way for eHub

Art student stands in front of a mural she painted
A mural painted by Joyelle Gilbert (B.A./B.F.A. '19) occupies a 40-foot wall in Kennedy Hall. William Staffeld / AAP
People seated at tables work on laptops in an office space beside a colorful mural
Gilbert's mural plays with motifs of pathways, inspiration, and clouds to convey the theme of entrepreneurship. William Staffeld / AAP
February 1, 2017

A 40-foot wall in the eHub in Kennedy Hall has a new look thanks to Joyelle Gilbert (B.A./B.F.A. '19).

Gilbert, an undergraduate pursuing a concurrent degree in the Department of Art and College of Arts and Sciences, was commissioned to paint a mural for the large wall by Entrepreneurship@Cornell (E@C). Knowing that there were many talented artists on campus, E@C director Zachary J. Shulman '87/J.D. '90 asked Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP, to call for interested student artists to submit sketches. Gilbert responded and met with Shulman.

"Joyelle conceived of the design elements on her own," said Shulman. "She took the broad theme of 'entrepreneurship' and developed a great sketch."

Gilbert was attracted to the project by the prospect of getting to paint on the equivalent of "a really huge canvas" with her own design. It took about 90 hours to complete the painting over three weeks.

"I made a lot of sketches before ending up with the final idea," said Gilbert. "I played with abstract shapes and landscape-type compositions while keeping in mind that entrepreneurship is a way of building your own path." In her final sketch, Gilbert employed motifs of pathways, inspiration, and clouds to convey the theme.

"I'm really thankful for the opportunity. It's a completely new experience for me to have a mural in a public place," said Gilbert.

eHub is an incubator for entrepreneurial students both inside and outside Cornell. A project of E@C in partnership with the Student Agencies Foundation, the new 5,000-square-foot space in Kennedy Hall opened in June 2016 and includes the offices of E@C and Blackstone LaunchPad at Cornell, as well as lecture space and conference rooms. Cornell students on the Ithaca campus, Cornell alumni, Cornell Tech students, and faculty and staff interested in entrepreneurship and business development can use the space to work on collaborative projects.

By Patti Witten