September 01, 2012
Faculty digitally document 70-year-old mural.
With the help of two enterprising CIA students, Mark Tekushan ’79 is digitally preserving a piece of American history. Tekushan — with his brother Terry, a historic conservationist — led a drive to save a 70-year-old mural from the wrecking ball that will soon demolish his alma mater, John Marshall High School on Cleveland’s West Side. He had assumed the mural, which depicted student life in the 1940s, was painted by WPA artists during the Depression. “I used to hear The Andrews Sisters in the background when I looked at it. It’s a snapshot of Americana at that time,” he recalled.
Turns out the 60-foot by 12-foot mural was not a WPA project but was painted in 1942 by four John Marshall students, including the late, former CIA faculty member Roy Hess ’48. All the more reason to preserve it, thought Tekushan, a Hess protégé who returned to CIA last year as an adjunct faculty member in Foundation. With his experience working in design and production for the film and television industry, Tekushan mobilized the equipment and people he needed to document the mural in the four hours he was allowed access to the building. He recruited students Amnon Carmi and Akeem Pennicooke to shoot a series of 560 digital images of the mural, based on a grid system, so the images can be reassembled, cleaned, printed full sized and displayed in the replacement high school building. “Digital photography restoration is an art in itself and it has the students intrigued. I think they are going to learn a lot,” Tekushan said.
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