In 1953, Art Sherman was asked to paint a mural for the University of Rhode Island’s new student union, the Memorial Union.
The Memorial Union earned its name because returning World War II veterans who enrolled in the school, along with other URI community members, had raised the funds for the building and dedicated it to those who were left behind on battlefields in Europe and the Pacific.
According to WJAR-TV, Sherman, a member of the class of 1950, was responsible for drawing cartoons on the walls of the previous student union, a Quonset hut. He was brought back in 1953 as the Memorial Union was being constructed to paint murals.
His murals were painted at the time when there were less than 2,000 students at the URI and most of them were white, WJAR reported. His art depicted life at the time — service members coming back to Rhode Island, a scene at the beach, a class reunion.