A POP! of color in the Lakeshore halls

Jason Messinger with one of his tiles Published November 29, 2023

Chicago artist Jason Messinger loves to make beautiful pieces people can easily appreciate. As students walk through the halls of College of Lake County’s Lakeshore Student Center in Waukegan, Messinger hopes his series of art installations brings them uplifting energy.

“My intent is for the student body to feel very joyful and happy when they see the work,” Messinger said. “I want them to feel like they're reflected and celebrated in a way that's very positive."

Messinger was chosen for the project through the Illinois Art-In-Architecture program, which funds art purchased to enhance state-funded construction or renovation projects such as the Lakeshore Student Center. Artists apply with their ideas, hoping to be selected by the jury assigned to the project.

For the Lakeshore Campus installations, Messinger proposed creating murals out of ceramic tiles. The art installations will span three floors, with each floor featuring a different theme and design. Messinger drew inspiration from the Waukegan community, most notably the Latinx population.

“I really wanted to do something that spoke to the community,” Messinger said. “The second-floor mural, Onomatopoeia/Onomatopeya, is made up of onomatopoeia words, half in English and half in Spanish.” Onomatopoeia words, like pop or buzz, sound like they are spelled.

The third-floor installation, titled Sun Kissed, is a series of concentric circles. Messinger chose circles because they symbolize connectedness and unity, plus circles are used in cultures all over the world. Healthcare classes are held on the fourth floor of the Student Center, so Messinger designed a mural of flowers, titled Blossoms, a universal symbol of healing.

Messinger likes having his art installed in public buildings because it gives him the chance to share it with more people.

“One of the reasons I apply for public projects is that the work stays up for a long time,” he said. “Tons of people will see it through the decades.”