Luis Quintanilla's Murals Project

In the early 1940s, University of Kansas City President Clarence Decker wanted to establish the first school of fresco painting in the United States. He offered Spanish Artist and political refugee Luis Quintanilla a position as resident artist and the opportunity to train apprentices while painting murals on the walls of the Liberal Arts Building (present day Haag Hall). Like many of his contemporaries, Quintanilla believed in the power of monumental art for reaching larger audiences. This website celebrates Luis Quintanilla’s life and work at UKC, emphasizing how the murals brought the campus community together. Students, faculty, and staff members posed for the murals and were immortalized on the walls of Haag Hall. Quintanilla’s murals were noted by the press and local community as they were painted. However, over time they received less attention. The research conducted to produce this website recovers this moment in UMKC’s history and highlights the importance of fostering interactions between faculty and students beyond the classroom. Additionally, it places the university’s history and student life in broader cultural and international contexts.

For more information about the artist, visit Paul Quintanilla’s website dedicated to the life and work of his father, Luis Quintanilla Click here for the bio

qrcode The UMKC Foundation is fundraising for restoring the murals in Haag Hall. Access the fundraising page here. Or, scan the QR code.
Sancho Panza in the Real World
Sancho Panza in the Ideal World
Don Quixote in the Real World
Don Quixote in the Ideal World
Don Quixote in the Twentieth Century
Sancho Panza in the Twentieth Century

We thank the Missouri Humanities Council (Bringing Missouri's History and Cultural Heritage to Public Audiences Through Digital Media Grant); the Missouri Institute for Defense and Energy (UMKC MIDE); and, the Seville Chapter of The Kansas City Sister Cities Association.