University of Mobile Students Bring Life to Mobile History in Downtown Parking Garage

Amber Kelley Arts, News

MOBILE, Ala. –University of Mobile students are bringing life to the history of Mobile by painting a mural in the parking garage under the Mobile Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center.

“We want these walls to tell a story, the story of Mobile,” says Brandt Wilhelm, director of operations at the convention center. “The convention center has thousands of people come through the facility who are not from Mobile or even south Alabama.”

This project is a part of the convention center’s initiative to revamp the walls of the parking garage to tell the history of Mobile.

University of Mobile Associate Professor of Art Phillip Counselman, chair of the art department at UM’s Alabama School of the Arts, was asked by Wilhelm to take on the project. When thinking through Mobile’s history for the painting’s subject, Counselman was inspired by the regattas held every year on Mobile Bay. The painting features colorful sailboats and the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse.

Fifteen UM students started the painting April 10. Some students are a part of the Painting II class taught by Megan Cary, associate professor of graphic design. Other students heard about the opportunity and joined in.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to work on such a large scale and to learn how to manage this type of project,” Counselman says.

As a studio art major, senior Charissa Williams is enjoying this unique experience.

Williams says, “The coolest thing about this opportunity is that I’m taking concepts that I have learned in my classes at UM and using them to benefit the community around me.”

Williams is also thankful that she gets to work on the mural with fellow classmates.

“It is awesome to be able to work on this mural with my UM community for the Mobile community. People from all over are going to see this, and it represents our city and our school,” Williams says.

The on-site art project fits in to the university’s Prac-ademics™ approach to higher education, where students have practical learning experiences to supplement classroom learning.

University of Mobile offers a variety of degrees in the Alabama School of the Arts. For more information, visit or call 251.442.2222.


About University of Mobile

University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Amber Kelley

Amber Kelley is the marketing communications specialist for University of Mobile. Amber received her Bachelor of Science in Communication from UM. As marketing communications specialist, Amber writes press releases and other content for UM. She is passionate about serving in her youth group at Redemption Church. She enjoys spending time outside, reading a good book and watching romantic comedies on Netflix.