Talking, laughter, cameras, and eating in Reference Services? Really? That can’t be right…can it?

Yes, it can, and yesterday around 3:30 p.m., that’s exactly what was going on as the library held the dedication ceremony for the second restored WPA-era mural, “San Diego Industry.”

Painted by student George Sorenson in 1936, the mural’s original home was in the basement of Hardy Tower, which in the 1930s housed SDSU’s first library as well as art classrooms. Damaged by renovations and lost for years behind ceiling tiles, the mural was found accidently in 2004 and underwent restoration before being relocated to its new permanent home on the wall behind the Reference Desk.

We listened to speeches by Interim Dean Jon Cawthorne, SDSU President Stephen Weber, and Professor Seth Mallios, who spearheaded the effort to restore the mural. The artist’s son, George Sorensen, flew in from Oregon to help us celebrate. The local media filmed the event to share with the rest of San Diego. We talked, laughed, and noshed on canapés and lemon bars. And the mural was dedicated. But what we also celebrated was the dedication of so many individuals—library staff, faculty, and administrators; members of our Friends of the Library; donors from outside organizations; Seth Mallios and President Weber; and many more—who saw the value in preserving a piece of SDSU’s history, who brought to fruition what seemed like an impossible task. Kudos to all of you hard-working dreamers. You pulled it off!

Want to learn more about the murals of SDSU? Here’s a few links:

The Depression-Era Murals of San Diego State University
San Diego Union-Tribune
Uncovering Local Art and Industry: The Discovery of Hidden WPA-Era Murals at San Diego State University

Enjoy some photos from Tuesday’s dedication. If you’d like to see more, visit our Flickr page.

George Sorensen being interviewed

George Sorensen was interviewed regarding his father's mural.

Seth Mallios and the mural

Seth Mallios, chair of SDSU's Anthropology Department, discusses the mural's history.

SDSU President Stephen Weber

SDSU President Stephen Weber shares some thoughts about the mural.

"San Diego Industry" mural

San Diego Industry in its permanent home in the Library Addition.