Forsaking economics to pursue his passion for art, University of South Carolina student Alexander Rusnak has created a mural to celebrate the spirit of South Carolina commissioned to enhance a newly opened Kroger Marketplace store in Richland County.
To commission the work the Kroger Co. partnered with One Columbia for Arts and History, an entity working to unify and amplify the thriving arts and history culture of Columbia and which regularly invites public input to maintain an interactive arts community.
Rusnak, a graphic design major at the University of South Carolina, entitled the work “Gaze” and based the project’s design on South Carolina’s palmetto tree and crescent moon, widely recognizable symbols depicted on the state flag. A third-year student hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Rusnak specializes in abstract painting and a signature use of patterns.
The store is located at Killian and Farrow Road in northeast Richland County. Kroger intends to coordinate 65 more murals by partnering with local arts organizations nationwide, while Rusnak said he hopes the work will inspire a hopeful future and give shoppers momentary pause to reflect on beauty.
“I hope people take a minute out of their busy day, out of running errands, to enjoy and ponder the artwork and its relation to them,” Rusnak said. “On a more specific level, I want this mural to give people hope. Conceptually it’s about looking towards the future, and seeing something greater to hope for. I hope it can give people that encouragement to be positive.”