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French City Opens 1st Mural Art College

Monday, January 7, 2013

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The French city of Lyon, a place well-known for its mural masterpieces, now boasts the world’s first school dedicated to higher education in the art form.

From simple murals to colossal frescos and architectural trompe-l’oeil (“fool the eye”) wonders, the demand for urban decoration and design is growing in a large number of cities and countries around the world.

ÉCohlCité School of Mural Art

The three-year program trains students in painting techniques, site logistics, contract negotiation, and other mural issues.

Nowhere is that more true than in Lyon, home to some 150 large-scale outdoor murals.

That’s why Gilbert Coudene, general manager of the global mural design firmCitéCréation, says he co-founded the ÉCohlCité School of Mural Art, an "international higher education establishment dedicated to mural art" in Lyon. (The other co-founder was The Émile Cohl Drawing School, another private institution in Lyon.)

Tuition for the private, nonprofit ÉCohlCité runs just over $9,000 per year for the three-year program. There is also a $1,100 enrollment fee.

Big Art, High Demand

The growth of cities and new urban problems is leading to expansion of the world market for monumental mural decoration, according to ÉCohlCité.

ÉCohlCité School of Mural Art

Founders say the mural school meets a public demand for professionals who are capable of creating large-scale public art.

“For example, the municipality of Shanghai has called on […] CitéCréation to train 3,000 mural painters in three years,” the school reports on its website.

Moreover, it says, many companies are seeking professional painters to "integrate, emphasize, and give character to their buildings and industrial installations" with murals.

“We are responding to what we know to be a very strong demand all over the world to modify the way cities look, to make them more beautiful, but also to create more social links through aesthetic tools, such as mural painting,” Coudene told BBC News.

Graduates of the program are said to be “fully armed for success.”

'Demanding' (and Dizzying) Coursework

The full-time (40 hours a week) curriculum is demanding and ranges from the basics of drawing and technique to site logistics and contract negotiation, the school says.

“The teaching team is composed of the best specialists living on the fruit of their work and ready to transmit their knowledge,” ÉCohlCité adds.

mural school founder
BBC News

Gilbert Coudene, general manager of CitéCréation, a global mural design firm, talks about the new school in this BBC report.

A BBC video report on the program shows the first group of students braving dizzying heights and cold weather to learn their craft. The report also features Coudene’s description of why outdoor art is important.


Tagged categories: Color; Decorative finishes; Decorative painting; Murals; Schools; Worker training

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