Student-created PALETTE Project brings murals to community

· 3 min read

Student-created PALETTE Project brings murals to community

Students paint The Palette Project's first mural, a rocket, on campus on Sept.1.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Student volunteers paint the "Liftoff" mural during the Sept. 1 PALETTE Project event on campus. The project launched the new community-based art initiative created by Erika Casarin.

Husker Erika Casarin’s entrepreneurial endeavor aims to add new art across Lincoln.

Her startup, The PALETTE Project, provides murals to non-profit organizations through team-building volunteer events held by for-profit businesses.

“It’s really just a collaborative thing,” Casarin said.

On Sept. 1, University of Nebraska–Lincoln students gathered around one of the project’s first public artwork events. Circling a large canvas, Huskers dipped paintbrushes into color-coordinated cups as they painted the rocket ship artwork. The design was created by senior art student Javier Rivera, and then made into a digital mockup by junior Avry Victor.

Erika Casarin, senior management major and founder of the The Palette Project, talks with a volunteer painter during the Sept. 1 event on campus.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Erika Casarin, senior management major and founder of the The PALETTE Project, talks with a volunteer painter during the Sept. 1 event on campus.

The completed artwork was displayed in the College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship — the same place where Casarin first developed PALETTE.

“I knew kind of deep down that I wanted the Center for Entrepreneurship to get my first project, just because they had helped me so much in the process of me becoming a business,” Casarin said.

Casarin formed PALETTE into a limited liability company in April 2021. Since then, she has watched the business blossom.

“The fact that she’s taken this to what it is right now in basically the span of five months is insane,” said Maria Heyen, a classmate. “I think it’s a real testament to her drive and the type of person that she is.”

Students paint The Palette Project's first mural, a rocket, on campus on Sept.1.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Students work on the mural during the Sept. 1 event on campus. The final mural is on display in the College of Business.

Casarin’s fellow Nebraska Business classmates and entrepreneurs came to support her on the project’s first big event. Some ran registration tables handing out branded T-shirts and filling up paint cups, while others let their artistic side take over as they added their individual touch to the mural.

The support wasn’t a surprise to Eddie Sicilia, who is a part of StartupsUNL (a recognized student organization) with Casarin.

“We’re a community. So, of course, the plan at the end of the line is everyone has their own business or at least that’s the idea, but we are super supportive of each other,” Sicilia said. “That’s actually one of our core values — support each other.”

With her first mural already hung, Casarin has big plans for the future. Soon she’ll make her imprint on Lincoln with a 1,600-square-foot mural made by PALETTE.

“This is the first of many projects,” Casarin said.

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