Monumental Artwork by Michael Borders Encompasses 350 Years of History

Connecticut Industry Mural Exhibit at Widener Gallery through December 7

Hartford, CT, November 13, 2014 - A fascinating exhibit of a complex, historical artwork by Connecticut artist Michael Borders is on display through December 7 at Trinity’s Widener Gallery at the Austin Arts Center. The Connecticut Industry Mural consists of eight individual panels, each ten feet tall by five feet wide and representing one of the eight counties of Connecticut. All together, the eight canvases are a graphic depiction of the state’s 350-year history of manufacturing and the people who created that history, from the time of the Native Americans into the 21st century.

Borders was on campus Monday, November 10, to tell the story of conceiving and creating the monumental mural, which he completed over a period of 25 years. He described to an audience including Trinity students from two studio art classes how his research led him all over the state, to historical societies, libraries, chambers of commerce, abandoned mills, and other historic sites. He even went up in an airplane to photograph the topography of the land that influenced the state’s industry and the horizon line that spans and connects all eight panels that make up the mural.

The multi-layered artwork shows the interconnected relationships between the people, the land, the machinery, and the products manufactured in the state. The stories of key historical figures are woven throughout, including individuals such as Samuel Colt (gun manufacturer), Eli Whitney (inventor of the cotton gin), and Mary Dixon Kies (inventor of a hat-making process for which she received the first U.S. patent issued to a woman).

Borders, who lives in Bloomfield, said he is proud to have been born and raised in Connecticut and “to be connected to this place—that was part of the inspiration.” His artistic vision, unrelenting passion for his project, and appreciation for the people whose ingenuity and energy gave rise to Connecticut’s industry were evident throughout his talk. “As an artist, I’m drawn to the need to reflect that human experience,” said Borders.

View photos from Michael Borders’ November 10 talk. View a video about the Connecticut Industry Mural project.