Comic strip mural to be auctioned for scholarship

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The opening of The Nest in the Student Center on March 27. Photo by LYNDSEY SAGER.

Christina Bucciere

The Funky Winkerbean comic strip panels adorning the walls of The Nest on the second floor of the student center will be auctioned off Saturday as part of Homecoming festivities.

The money raised will go towards the endowment of a scholarship, which they hope will be at least $25,000, to be awarded in alternate years to students in the School of Arts and School of Visual Communication Design.

The panels were created by two nationally syndicated comic strip artists and Kent State alums, Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers.

The auction will be held right after the Homecoming parade from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is open to everyone. There will be a silent auction for viewing time and placement of bids and a real-time auction of a few pieces to follow.

Tom Batiuk, who created Funky Winkerbean, and Chuck Ayers, creator of the comic strip Crankshaft, collaborated to create these panels. They feature familiar characters from each famous comic strip and illustrate different events in the life of a college student at Kent State.

Both Ayers and Batuik will be at the auction and will lead the homecoming parade as co-Grand Marshals.

The panels hold a special value to the school, said Timeka Rashid, assistant dean of students and director of The Center for Student Involvement.

“What you see on the wall is literally the original drawings that were put on in color on the wall in the mural,” Rashid said.

Batiuk and Ayers created the panels with the intent to bring a new design to The Nest through the use of a mural. After further discussion, they realized that this original art was a great way to give back to Kent State.

“The idea came from (the artists),” she said. “One of their requests was that the original panels that were used for the drawings that you see … they needed to be used in terms of a scholarship,” Rashid said.

How the money raised will be broken down into the amount per scholarship is still being negotiated, Rashid said, between the College of Arts and the two artists.

After the mural is auctioned off, the future plans for The Nest are still under discussion. It is possible that it will undergo a slight renovation with hopes of showcasing the stories of Chuck Ayers and Tom Batiuk in greater detail.

“It’s great work … it’s an opportunity to get a piece of a rendition by alumni from your campus that shows what it means to be a part of Kent State,” Rashid said.

Contact Christina Bucciere at [email protected].