08:00 AM

Campus Community Creates New Art for Innovation Hub

By Samantha Boden

Cal State San Marcos’ Innovation Hub has welcomed a creative addition to its space with the unveiling of a new mural and interactive art installation.  

The mural portrays a coastal live oak, a tree that is representative of the San Marcos region. By incorporating industrial features and a striking array of bold color, the art piece emulates the cycle of the seasons. Elements of innovation and nature come together to create an illuminating showpiece that connects all academic disciplines and produces an inclusive environment open to every major. 

“When we compare nature’s cycle with the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, it becomes clear that both of these processes are very iterative and there's a lot of parallels between them,” said Scott Gross, associate vice president of industry partnerships and head of the Innovation Hub.  

“The Innovation Hub is pretty industrial with hard lines, and we wanted something to kind of soften it and bring in more colors, making it gentler. Plus, I just love how the tree branches off into the circuitry and connects nature and technology.”  

Adjacent to the mural is the interactive art installation, where students can place a ball into a winding suction tube and watch as it is transported throughout the five stages of the innovation process: problem defining, ideation, design and prototyping, testing, and implementing. Illustrating the journey of turning an idea into reality can help generate a sense of motivation throughout the dynamic space and spark student imagination.  

Members of the campus community collaborated to bring these works to fruition. Lucy HG Solomon, professor of art, media and design, worked alongside muralist Tim Topalov and Kodie Gerritsen, an alumnus who leads the makerspace in Kellogg Library. Topalov initially was connected to CSUSM through his mother, Rosalina Christova, a longtime university fellow who directed the California Primary Algae Laboratory.  

To further highlight student voices and creativity, the trio invited students onto their team. Aidelen Montoya, Evie Reese, Emma Reheis and Melissa Lugtu contributed to the mural development. Getting involved in a campus project gives students the opportunity to express their artistry, gain hands-on experience and make connections with fellow members of the campus community. It is this type of inventiveness and enthusiasm that can be found throughout the Innovation Hub, as students now have space to ideate their inspirations.   

If people interact with the vacuum-powered idea pipeline and consider the majesty of the colorful oak tree, hopefully they will think this place is not just for traditional innovations; it’s about stretching the brain and imagination to consider new ways to engage with the world,” HG Solomon said.  

Media Contact

Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist

ebreier@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7314