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OSU students give grocery shoppers a taste of Oklahoma

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Food Pyramid mural

Food Pyramid shoppers will be seeing a lot of Oklahoma from now on.

Oklahoma State University studio methods students designed and painted a mural, "Locla-homa Grown," to be featured on a wall in the Stillwater grocery store.

The mural is directly behind the Starbucks kiosk and gives shoppers a local farm view. The students and store manager Roger Fry themed the piece "hometown grocer," which features an array of Oklahoma crops arranged by season.

Kitra Smith, the student-artist who designed the artwork, said it meant a lot to her as a Stillwater local to see her art displayed in the store.

"It's a great experience with my fellow students in actually learning about Oklahoma and produce," Smith said. "All of the produce pictured is grown in Oklahoma."

The mural features asparagus, blackberries, pumpkins and peanuts as well as cows because of the state's prominence in the meat industry.

Thirteen classmates helped with the project, and it took the group more than 15 hours of work.

"It was really enjoyable to work as a group on a large project like this," Smith said.

Tamara Mix, a sociology associate professor, assisted the students with their research on agriculture.

"I do work on food justice and food inequality," Mix said.

Mix visited the class to discuss Oklahoma produce and how it travels to grocery stores.

"I talked to them about what the food landscape is like here," Mix said. "Basically, it was about whether they have access to food or not, what kinds of things are grown locally."

The project also had a "client," Lisa Maione, who is a graphic design assistant professor.

Maione served as the class's "neutral party" observer and helped the design track during the planning process.

"On the research track with (Mix), it was really great for me to also learn about those things, as well," Maione said. "I got to learn about the Oklahoma environment, what it has and what the students actually find really fascinating about Oklahoma."

The instructor of the studio methods course, Liz Roth, said she was proud of the students for the research and work they put into the project.

"It's interesting that they did the research and then were able to visually present that," Roth said. "I think it's nice for students to have their art out in the community; it creates a kind of relevance."

Roth said she hopes shoppers will notice and be impacted by the mural as they walk by.

"A lot of the time, people just don't see what's in front of them," she said. "I think they should put in even a few seconds of consideration and think, 'I wonder why that's there.'"

entertainment.ed@ocolly.com