UA Instructor Paints Mural for Local Boy Scout Council

Tom Wegrzynowski (second from left) with sons Sam and Ben riding the rapids of the Middle Ocoee River in Tennessee with scouts from Troop 90.

A longtime UA painting instructor is also a Boy Scout leader and has painted a mural featuring the inclusivity of scouting life, now on display at the Black Warrior Council.

Tom Wegrzynowski has lived in Tuscaloosa with his family for twenty years and served as a full-time instructor with the UA Department of Art and Art History since he earned his MFA at UA in 2006. He has taught courses in painting, drawing and art history and his paintings are regularly shown in solo and juried exhibitions around the country. He and his wife, Charlotte Wegrzynowski, also an artist and a full-time instructor of drawing and design, have two boys who grew up in Tuscaloosa.

Wegrzynowski’s sons are Boy Scouts and he volunteers as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 90 in the Black Warrior Council in Tuscaloosa. He and his sons have taken several big scouting trips together, to places like New Mexico and Charleston, South Carolina, as well as lots of camping, hiking and other BSA activities at Camp Horne, in east Tuscaloosa County, a place he has come to love.

Troop 90 is a linked troop – that is, there is a girls’ troop (90G) and a boys’ troop (90B) – part of the Boy Scouts of America’s inclusivity initiative. Wegrzynowski recently attended a week-long national BSA leadership training course for local leaders called Wood Badge at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. The goal of the course, he said, is to prepare local organizations to implement the linked model of troops for both boys and girls as scouting grows to become more inclusive.

As part of Wood Badge, participants had to come up with a project, “something we were passionate about,” he said. “For me, that was obviously painting.” Wegrzynowski decided on a three-part mural featuring scouting experiences, explaining, “I wanted to make a piece that was about Camp Horne specifically, so that really led me to consider a mural project.”

“Both my kids have had important life experiences at Camp Horne, and I liked the idea of using my creative practice to make the camp more visible within the community.” The mural of three panels depicts boys – and girls – and Scout leaders standing together at night around a torch circle. “I wanted to make sure to represent girls as part of BSA’s initiative to create girls’ troops, as well as scouts with different ethnic backgrounds.”

Tom Wegrzynowski, Camp Horne mural, 40 x 90 inches, Black Warrior Council headquarters, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

He painted several camp activities into each panel, he said, “overlapped to create a montage effect…The nighttime scene is a ceremony where scouts are tapped to join Scouting’s honor society, the Order of the Arrow,” Wegrzynowski explained.

The mural, which is a little over seven feet long, and about three and a half feet high, was designed with the cooperation and input of the Black Warrior Council. The panels are currently on display in the council office on Jack Warner Parkway and will be used as part of the 100th anniversary of the camp.

For information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.