Scenic mural brightens Mānoa parking structure

Scenic mural on the roof of the lower campus parking structure with Stan Sheriff Center in background

The roof of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa lower campus parking structure now features a 70-foot long mural. UH Commuter Services organized this beautification project with local artists Justin Vasconcellos and Wendell Tabangcura, who finished painting the scenic mural on Dec. 2, 2018 after working on it for a span of two months.

Vasconcellos and Tabangcura donated their time, talent, and artistry for this project. “I’m doing this mural for UH, so I can give back to the people and beautify campus,” Vasconcellos said.

Justin Vasconcellos (front) and Wendell Tabangcura (back) work together on completing the last details of the mural.

Justin Vasconcellos (front) and Wendell Tabangcura (back) work together on completing the last details of the mural.

Besides volunteering at UH, they’ve also been working with Mele Murals, a part of The Estria Foundation, which promotes youth development, arts education, and cultural conservation. They’ve done murals for schools that focus on the historical and cultural aspects of Hawaiʻi.

Vasconcellos is passionate about painting and feels compelled to create a sense of community in Hawaiʻi. In describing the mural, he stated, “This is Hawaiʻi at its finest. In the painting, it represents people going to the beach in the morning, exploring in the afternoon, and star-gazing at night.”

Danielle Girard, a UH political science senior, enjoys the serenity of the mural. “I feel it does an amazing job of making me feel calm and centered in a place, which is usually very busy,” Girard said. “It reminds me that nature is all around us and we need to stop, slow down, and appreciate the beauty surrounding us.”

This mural is just one of the low-cost, high-impact projects that Commuter Services is implementing at the parking structure. Other projects include the Gecko Deco service project with eye-catching trash bins giving campus visitors a fun place to put their trash. In addition, Commuter Services recently installed LED lights with backup batteries and a new coat of slip-resistant paint by the elevators and stairwells.