October 19, 2023

Grand Vision

Artist Natalie Neale created a 70-foot mural that captures TCU’s spirit and community. 

Natalie Neale said the concept for the 70-foot mural on Lubbock Avenue came to her will tanning by the pool. Photo by James Anger

October 19, 2023

Grand Vision

Artist Natalie Neale created a 70-foot mural that captures TCU’s spirit and community. 

Just north of Berry Street on Lubbock Avenue, one recent TCU graduate’s school pride stands tall –– and in purple.

A 70-foot mural by Natalie Neal ’23 was commissioned by the school to celebrate TCU’s sesquicentennial, one of several murals erected nationwide for the occasion. The piece features motifs familiar to TCU students, faculty and staff, like the university’s famous Frog Fountain, red and yellow tulips and the message, “Dream big. Be bold. Lead on.”

While designing the painting, Neale said she wanted to capture TCU’s unifying school spirit. She said the idea for the design came to her one day in summer while she was tanning by the pool.

The campus mural by Natalie Neale is part of a nationwide project that celebrates the sesquicentennial. Photo by Amy Peterson.

“I was looking at the water ripples and I was like, ‘That’s it! That’s the idea,’” Neale said.

She decided to create a design that illustrated the university’s community having a ripple effect. From the design phase to the finished painting, she estimates the project took about three months to complete.

“I would go see it every day, and I was just in awe seeing it come together,” she said.

Kris Copeland, TCU’s creative director for marketing and communication, said it was difficult choosing an artist to design the mural given its size and specific design requirements. Not only should the piece work at a large scale for people to photograph, he said the painting also needed to serve as an Instagram filter, meaning the design must be reconfigurable without changing the overall message.

The marketing and communication division contacted Richard Lane, professor or art and director of the School of Art, and Adam Fung, associate professor of art, in spring 2023 to ask for student artist recommendations. Neale was their top choice.

Natalie Neale visited the mural frequently and “was just in awe seeing it come together.” Photo by James Anger

“Natalie was a pleasure to work with throughout the summer,” Copeland said.

He added her design is original and allows for interaction for photos while capturing TCU’s branding.

“Once the painting crew arrived,” Copeland said, “it felt like our hard work was over and we were able to sit back and watch it come to life as they replicated the design perfectly over the course of a week.”

Neale is a first-generation college graduate and who was raised in Fort Worth. She said she often would drive by the school while growing up and imagine one day going to TCU to make her mark.

Now, she said, she has done that literally.  

Chancellor Victor Boschini and President Daniel Pullin pose in front of Natalie Neale’s mural, which is on Lubbock Avenue just north of Berry Street. Photo by James Anger


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