Art & poetry in the Library, Part III

Mar 11, 2009
Unlimited Possibilities

The mural in the upper central lobby of the Parks Library (outside of the Periodical Room) celebrates the founding of Iowa State University and its intended future as a premier land-grant University.

Unlimited Possibilities mural

Designed by native Iowa mural artist Doug Shelton, it was created in the same tradition as the renowned Grant Wood murals which adorn the stairwell and lower lobby of the Parks Library building, in that all utilized the talents of trained student apprentices under the general supervision of a master designer in the painting process. Nine Iowa State University students from the Department of Art and Design - Robert Atwell, Dean Biechler, Nikki Grote, Gwen Kaye, Qimin Liu, Justin Lorenzen, Kandice Rappe, Sandra Spilker, and Jim Wilcox - who were supervised by faculty members and team artists Donna Friedman and Brenda Jones, worked with artist Doug Shelton in the completion of this mural. Painted in a temporary mural studio at the University Museum from August through November 1996, the 22 x 20 foot mural was installed in the library in January 1998.

The mural was formally dedicated on Founders Day, March 22, 1998, the 140th anniversary of Iowa State University.

As part of the University Museums Art on Campus program, ISU Professor and poet Debra Marquart wrote "Palimpsest" (1997) in honor of "Unlimited Possibilities." The poem is also available on CD in Special Collections (Disc 004 138) or at: