LU art and history combine for office renovation

The office in the Department of History has a new look, a friendlier, brighter and more engaging ambiance.

Wall calendars, monochrome maps and images of confederate soldiers adorning the walls for years have been replaced with unique artwork from Lamar University’s Dishman Art Museum's permanent collection.

Dr. Rebecca Boone, chair of the Department of History, initiated the refurb in hopes of creating a more welcoming environment.

“We had a series of diversity seminars in the fall, and I learned that it is important to make departments
Mac Cumpian

Mac Cumpian standing in front of untitled artwork
Peggy Wilson that now hangs in the
Department of History.

really welcoming to all students,” said Boone. “The environment really does play a role in welcoming students, and we felt like this department really did need an overhaul. Most of our pictures were not indicative of diversity at all. We wanted a fresh perspective.”

To get started, Boone contacted the Lamar University Dishman Art Museum and was connected with Mac Cumpian, a recent art education graduate of LU and current curator of the museum.

“Rebecca wanted to liven up the space in their office to reflect the diversity of the community at LU and in Beaumont,” said Cumpian, who has helped place some of the Dishman’s permanent art collection in other places around campus and in the president’s home.

Cumpian considered Boone’s mission and then looked through the Dishman’s online database for art that reflected what Boone was trying to accomplish.

“I came up with a list of art that I thought would work and from there Rebecca and I worked together to decide what pieces best represented the message and what we wanted to portray,” said Cumpian.

The two ultimately selected four pieces of art that they believe are welcoming, represent diversity and provoke thought.

50 Places
50 Places
The first piece the two agreed on is called “50 Places,” a silkscreen by Lise Drost, that has interesting textures and colors as well as bits and pieces of a map. “It spoke to me because of the map, which is what used to be here,” said Cumpian. “I think you look at it and wonder ‘what does this actually mean’ and it’s that invitation for personal interpretation that drew it to me.”

A Texas piece was selected for the Wooster Conference Room, which the two felt was appropriate because the conference room’s namesake, Ralph Wooster, was a long-time faculty member who taught Texas history.
Texas Series
Texas Perspective Series No. 6

What’s most interesting about the mixed media piece, titled, “Texas Perspective Series No. 6,” is the artist is Kamol Tassananchalee, a national artist of Thailand who has lived in San Antonio. Tassananchalee considers himself a global artist who draws inspiration from his Asian cultural and spiritual heritage and from his travels overseas.

An untitled piece by Peggy Wilson is geographical and map-like with bright colors that hangs to the right upon entering the office. A large bright abstract, also untitled, by Juilio Pujales is the focal point, placed
Bright Map Artwork in History
Untitled by Juilio Pujales
prominently across from the office entrance so it’s the first thing someone sees when they enter.

“It’s best when we have art out where students can interact with it,” said Cumpian. “Having pieces out where students can see them benefits them so I hope other colleges and departments will work with the museum to place more work from the permanent collection.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cumpian worked collaboratively with other museum staff to create a video series highlighting art work in the Dishman Art Museum’s permanent collection. That video is on the Dishman Art Museum’s YouTube and Instagram.