Ceiling Mural The Language of Symbols - CODAworx

Ceiling Mural The Language of Symbols

Submitted by Councill Fine Art Studio, LLC.

Client: Reich College of Education-Appalachian State University

Location: Boone, NC, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $80,000

Project Team


Brenda Councill

Councill Fine Art Studio, LLC


Thibault Tosseram

Councill Fine Art Studio, LLC


Through the “language of symbols,” I introduce a narrative specific to the value of knowledge gained through the education process. Seemingly random elements incorporated into the mural are part of the constants of humankind- the exploration of physics, mathematics, language, science, evolution, natural forces and the arts. The public work was painted onsite at the Reich College of Education on the campus of Appalachian State University. The 18′ diameter of the ceiling mural and mixed media construction is 20′ high from the entry foyer floor.


The mural is the centerpiece of the entry atrium area and is the main focal point of the Universities collection of Public Art installations. Early architectural planning of the ceiling area enabled the mural to be the crowning centerpiece of the entry welcoming visitors with an expanding narrative that is seen at all vantage points and the upstairs second floor yields details to further engage the viewer.


A selection committee was heavily involved as well as design and construction department and the architectural firm. However, the strong design and evolution of the final mural and copper elements were the work of Brenda Councill, lead artist and the final submission was accepted. 22 prior sketches and 4 final color renderings were submitted.

Additional Information

The centerpiece is elevated through the manner of trompe l'oeil, representing goals attained through higher education. Hammered copper denotes conductivity, energy and permanence. indicating past, present and future wisdom. Beneath is the glow of intellect, illumination of thought. The copper triangular rivulets, reveal evolutionary cycles of communication. Trompe l'oeil steps represent early education, graduating to advanced symbols indicating the rewards of higher education. The books, void of titles represent instructive books and compositions not yet written. The atom symbolizes infinite divisibility. The bare tree implies the cycle of life. Piano keys symbolize creative forms as universal communication.