THE MURALS: A CELEBRATION OF LIFE AND MUSIC
When well-known painter and Depression-era muralist Raymond Boynton (1883–1951) began work on the architectural ornamentation of the concert hall, his goal was "to produce a scheme of decoration which would give free play to the imagination and, through color and rhythm and formality, heighten that mood in the listener." Boynton illuminated the hall with daring mythological imagery, bold colors, and lavish use of gold. As generations of concertgoers will attest, Boynton created visual music that has enlivened the concert hall and captured the spirit and vision of Mills College for more than 80 years.
Murals As a California landscape painter and colorist, Boynton illustrated the natural beauty of the Bay Area and its hills, trees, water, and deep blue sky. Visitors to the Littlefield Concert Hall are immediately struck by the murals of the California Mother Lode that are painted on sliding panels above the stage, providing an inspiring backdrop for both listening and learning.
Frescoes Using painting techniques from 600 years ago, Boynton created the first frescoes at a public building west of the Mississippi at Mills College. Framing the choir loft panels are excerpted musical scores from the Gregorian chant Magnificat. A series of multicolored frescoes encircle the interior walls, depicting vivid scenes of life, love, and death.
Ceiling Tiles The ornamental ceiling tiles were painted in a series of geometric motifs. Boynton considered these tiles the most daring element of the hall's decor, believing he had "created a variety of movement and interval over the whole ceiling...." Juxtaposed with the reproduction lead glass panels in the center of the ceiling, the tiles come to life with a colorful visual energy.