Sowela club creates mural

Sowela Technical Community College’s Graphic Art Club recently completed a 264- foot mural at Petro Bowl. The project took five months to complete and earned the club $2,000 towards fund raising initiatives.

The mural, which depicts scenes from around Southwest Louisiana, spans the entire length of the bowling lanes and was created by 30 student volunteers who worked after classes, weekend and holidays.

“It teaches you to come together as a cohesive group and make something out of nothing,” Ayasha Gillespie, December graduate and former club president, said. “If you want to go bowling, you see that. And once you know that Sowela produced that, you know really good things can come from something small.”

Petro Bowl was in the market to freshen up its back wall when Phillip Mitchell Jr., club vice-president and Petro Bowl employee suggested the partnership with Sowela. “It really brought out a leadership role in myself as far as applying it to my career aspirations,” he said.

The club members worked together from concepting, sketching, outlining, painting and finally hanging the 66 individual panels along the alley’s back wall. Descrbing the experience as “high stakes” and “stressful” at times, Gillespie and Mitchell agreed it was well worth it to provide the alley with an image the owners “fell in love with.”

Darrell Buck, graphic arts instructor, commended the students who worked on the project. “This wasn’t a class project they had to do this on their free times. They had to develop a good work ethic to get it done.”

Taking part in student organizations, Buck said, goes far in helping student prepare for life after college. “Ultimately, they do better because they’re getting more experience. The ones that go above, the ones that aren’t afraid of work we know we can recommend for internships and jobs.”

Sowela will offer a new artistic course of study in the fall, the associates of applied science in digital communications. The program will feature two concentrations for students to choose from: graphic design and media production. For more information visit,


For Sowela Technical Community College: The Sowela Graphic Art Club students recently completed a 264-foot mural at Petro Bowl. The artwork spans the entire length of the bowling lanes, incorporating a Southwest Louisiana theme complete with crawfish, Lake Charles skyline and wildlife. Club members volunteered their time to paint the mural, a project that took from September 2018 to February 2019 to design, outline and paint. The mural was part of a fundraiser for the club, which raised $2,000. Pictured in front of the mural accepting the donation from Petro Bowl are: front row, from left: Petro Bowl General Manager Debbie Stroderd, Sowela Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Graphic Art Club Advisor and Instructor Darrell Buck; middle row, from left: Phillip Mitchell, Instructor Thunder John, Shawn Aucoin, Instructor Erik Jessen; and back row, from left: Gabriell Guillory, Quincy Mudd, Kiara Hartman, Kevin Wise, Dennis Evans, Jasmine Vital and Cevannah Duncan.

Special to the American Press