Hun’s Dining Room Mural; Thoughts on a Student-Centered Work of Art

If you have been to the Hun Dining Hall lately, you’ve likely noticed a big change; the colorful mural that graced the wall has gotten a sleek new facelift. It’s been replaced by an homage to Professor John Gale Hun and his mathematical acumen.
Although wall art tends to fade into the background for those who pass it every day, some may wonder about the previous mural; the meaning behind it, and how it came to occupy its space for twenty-two years.
 
It started in 1996. Then-Headmaster James Byer and Hun parent Young Sun Jin, a muralist, looked at the blank, white wall at the end of the dining hall and thought a mural would liven it up. They took the idea to Hun visual arts teacher David Bush, and he enlisted his advanced art class, along with Ms. Young, to create the mural from concept to completion.
 
“It was student-centered and very organic, the way it came about,” recalled Mr. Bush recently. In designing it, they incorporated symbols representing the school. The tunnel signified the student journey through Hun. The equation at the top represented the conservation of energy, a nod to the constant movement, motion, and energy of students. The quote came from Romantic poet John Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn, and spoke to beauty and the passage of time. At the end of the tunnel was the lamp of knowledge, taken from the Hun shield, representing intellectual pursuits. The plants intertwined around the tunnel represented the growth and transformation that takes place during a child’s school years.
 
“Things change form, you evolve, you grow into something else,” said Mr. Bush. “I think the mural had meaning as far as what we, as a school, represent.”
 
The Hun alumni who created the mural included Shinya Orita ’97, Elijah Sabree ’97, Sherry Wiernik ’98, Stephanie Myers ’99, Chandler Strange ’98, Jihoon Yim ’97, and Mr. Yim’s mother, mural artist Young Sun Jin. Students worked on the piece during free periods throughout the day, after school, and evenings.
 
“We had a great sense of satisfaction when it was done,” Mr. Bush recalled. “There was no unveiling; one day, there it was.”
 
After twenty-two years, the mural had begun to fade and chip, leading to a re-imagining of the space. The new design includes a graph from a trigonometry textbook published by Dr. Hun in 1911. He was a math professor at Princeton University and tutor before starting The Hun School in 1914. Mr. Bush said he was fine with the change.
 
“I’m ok with it,”he said of the new image, which was installed on November 21st.
“Change is good. It helps people notice things.”
 
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The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school.  Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.

176 Edgerstoune Road, Princeton, NJ 08540  |  Phone: (609) 921-7600 | Email: admiss@hunschool.org