In the spring of 1989, a group of Chilean artists known as the Orlando Letelier Mural Brigade was invited to take part in the Steinman Festival of the Arts at St. Lawrence University. After the Festival, the artists left St. Lawrence with two incredibly powerful murals that are now displayed in the Owen D. Young Library.

The first mural (above - bottom) was painted by the members of the Brigade and shipped to St. Lawrence prior to the Steinman Festival. Its central theme is “ No theory of people and society  be currently serving the needs of both humankind and the planet.” There is an emphasis on the interaction between people and the environment, specifically in the historical and political context of 1980s Latin America. 

The second mural (above - top) was designed by the Brigade based on themes that were important to the North Country community. Then, during the Festival, members of the community were invited to come to St. Lawrence and participate in the actual painting of the Brigade's design. The central theme highlighted in this mural is the "common thread" between Latin American communities and the North Country.

Each of the digital narratives linked below explores these murals from a slightly different perspective, including archival research, interviews with individuals who were involved with the project, and visual analysis of the themes presented in the two murals. 

History of the Orlando Letelier Brigade Murals

This digital narrative explores the history of the murals, including background on the Orlando Letelier Mural Brigade, the Steinman Festival of the Arts, and the actual creation of the murals. It is built primarily on archival research conducted at St. Lawrence University.

The program for the 1989 Steinman Festival of the Arts.
1989 Steinman Festival of the Arts. “Latin American Art: Voices of Struggle, Visions of Hope.” St. Lawrence University Archives. Accessed on November 8, 2018.

Orlando Letelier Mural Brigade Interviews

This digital narrative gives an inside look at the Orlando Letelier Brigade and their time at St. Lawrence University in 1989. It is based on interviews with two prominent members of the Brigade: Francisco Letelier and Jos Sances.

Francisco Letelier, one of the founders of the Brigade and the son of its namesake.
Letelier, Francisco. Francisco Letelier. September 10, 2011. FaceBook.


"An Art of the People"

This digital narrative looks at the painting of the community mural through the eyes of a former student who helped to plan it. The story is told through a video interview with the alumna, Relani Prudhomme.

A clipping from a 1989 article in The Hill News that discussed the community mural.
Lowe, Michelle. "Community Mural Painting Planned for Steinman Festival." The Hill News. March 31, 1989. Accessed December 2, 2018,

Mural Analysis

This digital narrative looks at the murals themselves, analyzing key symbols in each mural and discussing their importance at the time the murals were created.

The two murals.
"A common thread."Painted by the Orlando Letelier Brigade and the Canton community, digitized by Eric Williams-Bergen. "No theory of people and society  be currently serving the needs of both humankind and the planet."Painted by the Orlando Letelier Brigade, digitized by Eric Williams-Bergen.