The Elihu Burritt Library received grant for CCSU’s mural collection

A recent grant award received by Central Connecticut State University will help to preserve some of the university’s most colorful history in the Connecticut Digital Archive 

The Elihu Burritt Library at CCSU received a $10,000 grant from CT Humanities to create a digital collection of artwork and murals by Professor Emeritus Mike Alewitz and his students.

The collection will feature work produced during Alewitz’s 16 years as director of the mural painting program at CCSU. Since the program’s launch in 2000, students have produced more than 100 murals on the CCSU campus; numerous murals in downtown New Britain; and several throughout the world as part of the program’s international mural slams, plus hundreds of smaller art pieces.

The contributions of these young muralists will be revealed with a permanent online collection in the Connecticut Digital Archive, a statewide digital repository at the University of Connecticut and a partner of the Digital Public Library of America. As part of the Burritt Library’s expanding digital collections, this archive will support teaching and research in art and art history, both for CCSU students and for artists and scholars around the world. The materials will be uploaded over the course of the year, culminating in an exhibit and symposium at the library.

Alewitz is a well-known as an activist and agitprop artist. He was a leading antiwar activist at Kent State University, an eyewitness to the massacre of May 1970, and a leader of the national student strike that followed. He has remained a lifelong labor and social justice activist. In 1999, Alewitz was named a Millennium Artist by the White House Millennium Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Alewitz’s students greatly expanded the boundaries of mural painting, grappling with issues in science, education, substance abuse, sexual assault, war, racism, climate change, 9-11, homelessness, censorship, popular culture, and many other topics. The collection demonstrates a genuine diversity of students’ perspectives, artistic styles, and political viewpoints informed by their unique backgrounds and experiences.

This project is made possible by a CT Humanities SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan) capacity grant.

 Professor Emeritus Mike Alewitz may be contacted at Project manager and CCSU’s Digital Humanities Librarian Brian Matzke may be contacted at