Hummingbird Takes Flight: Mural by Cooper Student Makes the News

POSTED ON: March 1, 2021

Photo courtesy of Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Photo courtesy of Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Yumarlin Rodriguez, a junior in the School of Art who goes by the diminutive Yumi, was recently interviewed by Orion magazine for her contribution to the Audubon Mural Project, which features murals of climate-threatened birds throughout Harlem where John James Audubon was once based. 

For the project, Yumi painted a Rufous Hummingbird in tribute to her grandfather, Odalis Alvarez, who passed away in the spring of 2020. He had called her colibri (hummingbird) throughout her life and Yumi credits him for her love of nature. She placed the mural on the gate of Romulo Barber Shop, the last place where he had worked. Of her mural Orion wrote “She took care when designing her mural that it was ‘not just a pretty thing,’ but rather, an image for people to spectate with a sense of respect. She included insects and plants, pollinators integral to the balance of the ecosystem to keep it from collapse.”

Yumi also recently interviewed artists Carlos Pinto and John Sear for an Audubon video about the making and installation of the project's newest mural (of trumpeter swans).

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.