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August 26, 2021

The PALETTE Project Plans University Community Mural Painting Event

Center for Entrepreneurship to Display Student-Created Art
The PALETTE Project Plans University Community Mural Painting Event
The University of Nebraska community will collaborate to paint a mural on Wednesday, Sept. 1 from 4-6 p.m. in the greenspace by the Nebraska Union. This event is the first venture for a new student-run startup called The PALETTE Project. Music and T-shirts will be provided while supplies last.

All are welcome to collaboratively paint a mural at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 4-6 p.m. in the greenspace by the Nebraska Union. Commissioned by the Center for Entrepreneurship (C4E) at the College of Business, the mural will be the first venture for a new startup called The PALETTE Project, spearheaded by founder, CEO and senior management major Erika Casarin from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Designed like a big paint-by-number activity, the mural allows those to leave their mark at the university. People will enjoy music as they paint, and students leave with T-shirts while supplies last. 

Erika Casarin Outside of Howard L. Hawks hall.
Erika Casarin, founder, CEO and senior management major from Lincoln, Nebraska, spearheaded the project and collaborated with students across campus, the Center for Entrepreneurship, the UNL Startups student organization and alumni.

“Not only does the experience break barriers and bring individuals together, but the PALETTE Project also beautifies the communities where we reside. The mission of PALETTE is to deepen partnerships between nonprofits, for-profits and the greater community through collaborative mural painting,” Casarin said. “I wanted to create an experience for our university students, allowing them to connect in a meaningful way and this event provides a place for them to mingle and make great memories while also creating unique art.”

Casarin shared how the mural represents the beginning of PALETTE’s legacy and its continuation. The finished mural will be installed in the Center for Entrepreneurship in Howard L. Hawks Hall room 315 in mid-September.

“When I first came up with the idea for PALETTE, I had no idea where to start, so I scheduled a consultation appointment with the Center for Entrepreneurship. I met with staff who took the time to listen to my idea and asked me questions. We found the holes in the model and strategized on how to compensate for them. They guided me through the challenges and successes of the early business stages,” Casarin said.

Casarin competed in the C4E's New Venture Competition with her business plan and talked to members of the Startups UNL recognized student organization that operates out of the C4E. Then she pitched the idea of PALETTE’s first project being a mural for the C4E with a campus-wide event to Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the college and Dr. Sam Nelson, director of the C4E and associate professor of practice in management.

“Her presentation was well crafted and delivered about a joint project for the C4E. She communicated how this mural was more than just a piece of art – it was a way for us to share the story of entrepreneurship at Nebraska and its endless possibilities. Dean Kathy Farrell and I thought it seemed only fitting that the first student-designed venture for the PALETTE Project would be installed in the Center for Entrepreneurship,” he said.

Casarin reached out to Javier Rivera, a senior art major from Omaha, Nebraska, to build the large canvases to paint at the event. She also asked her high school friend, Avry Victor, a junior art major from Lincoln, to create the graphic design for the mural, which was later named “Lift Off”.

“The mural design exhibits six space people assembling a rocket mid-flight. These six individuals represent the core values of Startups UNL, the fundamental values of our community that influence how we interact with one another,” Casarin said. “Through these principles, we build stronger bonds and achieve individual and group success. Entrepreneurship is fast-paced and invigorating, thus the inclusion of the rocket, which helps to convey a sky’s-the-limit mentality. It is imperative to note that each individual has a role in completing the rocket, highlighting the importance of collaboration and teamwork.”

In addition, she partnered with another high school friend who worked as a videographer at Digital Sky. Due to that connection, she worked with the company’s creative team in order to capture video and photos at future mural events and to do social media and more surrounding the project and event. The Digital Sky team includes three Nebraska alums: Aaron Hahn, ’14, COO and strategic director; Mackenzie White, ’19, creative producer; and Ann Milroy, ’20, creative manager.

Casarin encourages all students to attend the event and paint the mural so they can make their mark at the university.

“We want this event to be a place where students can mingle and make great memories while also creating this unique piece of art,” Casarin said. “There’s a sense of permanence to it as the canvas will be hanging in the Center for Entrepreneurship for years to come, and I want each student who helped paint to be reminded of the impact they had at Nebraska.”

To learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship, visit: https://business.unl.edu/entrepreneurship.

To view 1011 Now's story on The PALETTE Project, visit: https://www.1011now.com/2021/09/02/unl-senior-creates-mural-painting-business/