Vibrant paint strokes have transformed the sterile walls of the exam rooms in the Student Health Center into the masterpieces of an artist. Crimson, black, green, blue, purple, white and yellow swirl together to form full-fledged wall murals depicting the various academic and athletic programs at the University of Alabama.
“I think they thought these murals would be a cool way to incorporate everything that students like about this campus, especially all of the sports,” said Jackie Ward, administrative secretary to the director of the SHC. “We have everything from basketball to baseball to gymnastics.”
Some of the rooms contain murals of buildings such as the medical school, while others show moments from Crimson Tide football, such as the SEC Championship game.
“Each room varies, portraying a glimpse of the campus here,” said Hannah Emerson, a sophomore majoring in speech pathology. “The murals really show the pride we have at the University of Alabama, whether you’re hoarse at a game or hoarse at a doctor’s appointment.”
The artist, Stephen Ardovino, began painting each of the murals in the SHC, sports clinic and pediatrics ward five years ago.
“Art is a gift,” he wrote on his website, stephenardovino.com. “I feel blessed to have the ability to convey my perception to the viewer with paint and canvas.”
Ardovino said his favorite artist of all time and biggest inspiration is Leonardo da Vinci, and he has developed a career around his passion for painting.
“I have always painted, but it really started as a hobby when I was a small child,” Ardovino said. “I was 18 or 19 years old when I got my first job to paint a mural in a friend’s home, and it just kept going from there.”
His career evolved into a business, Ardovino Arts, where he paints murals, commissioned paintings and prints.
“I just love to paint,” Ardovino explained. “It has always been a passion of mine. I especially enjoy painting sports, since I’m an Alabama fan, but I love painting in general. That’s the only way I know how to describe it.”
Ardovino’s most recent endeavor is a painting of Terrence Cody’s field goal block in the Alabama vs. Tennessee game during the 2009 season.
“This painting is entitled ‘Championship Block,’ and I am waiting on permission for it to be licensed by the University,” he said.
“Stephen Ardovino is just fabulous and so talented,” Ward said. “He painted each of the murals from a tiny photograph, only about an inch bigger than a Post-It Note. It’s incredible that he has never had any formal training in art.”
The sports murals already in each of the individual SHC exam rooms are common conversation pieces between nurses and patients.
“I think they’re wonderful,” said Mary Freeman, allergy nurse at the SHC. “You just don’t see things like that in offices.”