The lobby of Crowder College’s Elsie Plaster Community Center has gotten a little brighter with the addition of Allen Bishop’s “Creatio ex Hominis” mural.

The lobby of Crowder College’s Elsie Plaster Community Center has gotten a little brighter with the addition of Allen Bishop’s “Creatio ex Hominis” mural.

Crowder held a mural dedication on Monday morning, recognizing Bishop and his work of art.

Bishop, an art instructor at Crowder College, completed the mural last July, though his idea for the eight-panel project developed long before that.

“The original idea for this “Creatio ex Hominus” mural, which means human creativity, actually came about eight years ago, before I’d ever heard of Crowder College,” Bishop said Monday morning at the mural dedication ceremony.

Bishop said his original idea had been intended for a fine arts center other than Elsie Plaster. However, once life brought him to Neosho, his idea moved with him.

“About three years ago, the music faculty came to me and wanted to see if there was some way to get some kind of art here that was more colorful, that would spruce up the interior of the Elsie Plaster Center,” Bishop said.
Bishop then returned to his original idea, redesigning it to fit the space in Elsie Plaster. He took his design to the Crowder Board of Trustees, and once it was approved, he began production on the project. The production work started in the spring of last year, and wrapped up by July 2012, when the mural was installed.

The eight-panel mural features bright blue, yellow, red, green, black, orange and purple acrylics on wood relief panels and measures 5.6-foot by 32-foot overall.

“The whole concept is to give an abstracted representation of eight different mental processes of creativity,” Bishop said.

The first panel features a stream, which represents fluency, and is followed by rectilinear and curvilinear shapes symbolizing flexibility. The third panel shows unique and radiating shapes, displaying the originality in the creative process.

The fourth panel shows a hand and represents elaboration.

“Elaboration is the development of an idea into a greater complexity,” Bishop said. “I put a hand that labored, which actually came from a tracing of my six-month old granddaughter’s hand. I thought that the innocence there was appropriate to creativity.”

The next panel shows a multi-colored eye, which Bishop said represents visualization and clarity of vision for an idea. The transformation panel follows that, and shows six levels of a shape, starting out as what Bishop describes as a “convoluted blob” and finishes as an oval shape.

“It represents the evolution of an idea from start to end,” Bishop said.

The seventh panel represents intuition, and Bishop said he uses a shape coming out of a subliminal level into consciousness to represent that facet.  
The final panel shows left and right brain halves, and represents synthesis.

“We have complimentary colors and left and right brain halves, a rendition of different things that go on in the analytical brain and the intuitive brain,” Bishop said.

The mural is not the first in the area, or even on campus, that Bishop has had a hand in.

He and his art students also created the “CampUs Crowder” murals located in Crowder’s Newton Hall.

Alan Marble, Crowder president, said the mural is part of an ongoing effort to support murals in Newton County and to beautify the Crowder College campus.

“We’re just very, very fortunate to have Allen Bishop do what he has done for this college,” Marble said.

Barry Flint, a member of the Newton County Tourism Council, said the council offers mural tours for Southwest Missouri and now has a growing list of approximately 40 murals they can show throughout the area.

The “Creatio ex Hominis” mural was funded by the Crowder College Foundation.