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FHSU students' Tuscan landscape leaves an impression





The artistic efforts of two Fort Hays State University students have given a touch of the Tuscan landscape to Hays.

Started in early June, the Tuscan mural located inside the foyer of Napoli's Italian Restaurant, 2522 Vine, was created by undergraduate art student Matt Miller, Topeka, and graduate art student and assistant instructor Mike Knutson, Spearfish, S.D.

The students blended their ideas to create the scene. Miller began with architectural designs, while Knutson had a landscape scene in mind.

"So we kind of fused them," Miller said. "Mike found this Tuscan, central Italian villa, and we put them together."

It was the first time either student had worked on a collaborative mural project. Using a mixture of acrylics and house paint, the project was completed in a little more than a week.

"We both presented ideas and worked them out with the team at Napoli's to figure out the best possible scenario for the space," Knutson said. "And we brought it to life."

As evening hours draw near, the Tuscan mural, which depicts a sunset scene, takes on the flavor Matt Smith, manager of Napoli's, had envisioned.

"I wanted to give it more a feeling for customers," he said. "I wanted warm colors."

Smith said he thought the addition of a mural would bring a more fitting atmosphere to the restaurant, and he is pleased with the results.

"I love the way they did it, because it gives you the impression you could walk right into it," he said. "It gives you a feeling you can go into a restaurant and feel like you're really not in Hays any more.

"I think they captured that really good."

The students were recommended to Smith for the project by Joel Dugan, FHSU assistant professor of art and design. Smith said he was glad to have students involved in the project to help provide an educational opportunity for students in the Hays community.

The mural project coincides with other recent renovation and painting projects at Napoli's.