To Read is to Explore in Gary Hall


Paul Tointigh

Abigail Buster completes the bookshelf portion of her mural in Gary Hall. This section, though small, will emphasize the theme of the entire project: “To Read is to Explore.”

Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor

Murals can convey many messages in the space that they are contained. Abigail Buster, senior deaf education major, understands this concept very well with her most recent project: a mural painted on the east side of Gary Hall.

The Gary Hall mural is not Buster’s first mural on USAO’s campus; In late 2022, Buster finished a space themed mural in Canning Hall. In her recent work, the mural will feature children reading books with various illustrations to bring the words on the page to life.

“The theme is ‘to read is to explore,’” Buster said. “I wanted to do something with books because reading is important.”

Once fully completed, the mural will feature a mountain landscape, an underwater portion, a tiny town, and a forest. All of these will be visual illustrations of how the words on the page can paint a vivid picture. Currently the first portion (the mountain landscape) is the only one that has been completed.

The words “To Read is to Explore” will also be painted on the east side of the mural, to emphasize the theme of the entire project. The wall features an enclave portion of the wall (where a water fountain is located), so Buster has filled this space with a depiction of a bookshelf, to bring out the theme even more.

Buster said that the mountain portion alone took 21 hours of work to complete. When all is said and done, she can expect to have put about three day’s worth of work into this project.

Not only does Buster have to take time into consideration, but she must also keep her location in mind as well.

“I had to come up with something to fit this space, since it is the Child Development Center,” Buster said. “But it’s also at a college, so I needed to keep that in mind. I needed to create something that could be appreciated and/or applicable to the college student as well.”

Being a deaf education major, Buster displays the fact that many students at USAO have other talents that lie outside of their declared major. Painting a mural in both the deaf education building and the Child Development Center gives USAO the reputation for being an art college, as art can be used to display many different fields around campus.

“The fact that I am able to do this shows that the school is interdisciplinary,” Buster said on her gratefulness towards the university and it allowing her to create her murals.

During her time on campus, Buster has completed two other murals for USAO. She painted an octopus that can be seen by entering the BCM building, just off of campus to the northwest. Her other project included a mural in Canning Hall, completed in 2022. The project featured prominent American Sign Language (ASL) signs in a space-themed environment. Painting has been a life-long passion for Buster, as she has been painting since the age of two, and she hopes to continue painting on the side as she makes the transition from USAO.

Buster hopes to have her current project completed by the end of the summer trimester.


Paul Tointigh is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.