Hub Mural, wide shot

Katherine Mann’s mural “Small Planet” in the HUB-Robeson Center on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.

The HUB-Robeson Center will look more colorful this semester as the HUB Galleries commissioned Katherine Mann to create a new mural for the space.

Mann, an independent artist and Washington, D.C. local, prepared a few potential pieces for selection for the HUB’s newest mural. A work entitled “Small Planet” was chosen, and she worked on the collage elements of the piece throughout the semester in her studio.

“This piece was chosen, I think, because it combined free floating, verdant and textured painting technique with fluid dynamics, maximalism and an interest in the local landscape,” Mann said via email. “Each of the flowers, leaves or branches in the mural is a depiction of a plant or tree that is endemic to Pennsylvania and the region directly around State College.”

“I wanted to take details from the daily scenery of the region – mostly, tree leaves – and use them to populate a fantastic, immersive and imaginary world,” Mann said.

Along with paying attention to the State College landscape, Mann said the mural holds personal significance to her.

“The mural represents, to me, a joyful celebration of the mess of matter that make up the world around us,” Mann said. “The local maple tree on the meridian in the middle of the street might not be given a second glance, but recontextualized into this kaleidoscopic landscape it becomes alien, invites a new appreciation.”

Installed during the final week of the fall 2019 semester, Mann signed the mural with 15 minutes left to spare before the HUB closed for holiday break.

Curator of HUB-Robeson Galleries Lindsey Landfried said she hopes the piece not only touches the Penn State community, but those who visit, as well.

Hub Mural
Katherine Mann’s mural “Small Planet” in the HUB-Robeson Center on Sunday, Jan. 12.

“The HUB-Robeson Center commissioned this work by Katherine Mann to share high quality contemporary art with our students in the spaces they work and engage in during their Penn State experience,” Landfried said via email. “This artwork enriches the University community and its visitors by deepening a sense of place and the experience of space, stimulating viewer curiosity and wellness and ensuring that art engages the educational, cultural and historical dimensions of our environments.”

“We anticipate that students will each have their own response to its physical presence and transformative potential,” Landfried said. “The HUB-Robeson Center is a cultural destination at Penn State, and we activate the arts here in the Union to address today’s complex questions and serve local and global communities through access to the arts.”

Campus Arts Associate Tamryn McDermott helped Mann carefully install and hammer the mural, alongside HUB Galleries staff and student interns.

“Katherine was wonderful to work with,” McDermott said via email. “While we nailed, Katherine added more layers of paper and paint to the mural to integrate her work into the architecture and surrounding space.”

According to McDermott, students would stop by the mural throughout finals week to watch the installation process and ask about the piece. Students thought it added energy to the space.

“One student told us how grateful she was that we were installing the mural for the students to enjoy,” McDermott said. “Another brought up something she learned in one of her psychology classes. She said she learned that plants help to increase productivity.”

McDermott added that the HUB team is looking forward to the student body “seeing new things within the dense and layered surface over time” and enjoying the mural.


Available Artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN


Contact the gallery for artwork and commissions.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW, #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787