Columbia University in the City of New York

Art in the Education Lab

While the Education Lab remains closed due to COVID-19, come by and view DISTER RONDON’s mural IN SCIENCE WE TRUST, visible in the windows on 129th Street.

The artist at work on the new mural on display in the Education Lab through Fall 2022 (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).

**THE CALL FOR ARTISTS, 2022 IS NOW CLOSED. Please check back in December 2022 for the next call.**

Walk by the Zuckerman Institute's Education Lab on 129th Street, and you may notice a splash of color in the windows. That's IN SCIENCE WE TRUST, a new mural by Washington Heights-based artist and educator DISTER RONDON. He created the piece to celebrate scientists as "real people, a part of our collective community: worldwide and local."


DISTER specializes in spray paint, an homage to hip-hop culture
(Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


Even as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevents us from gathering, DISTER RONDON defies the loneliness a pandemic can inflict with a vibrant display that emphasizes community. The project started with virtual conversations between DISTER and scientists Latasha Wright, PhD, Connor Gibbons, Vikram Gadagkar, PhD, Cornel Duhaney and Tessa Montague, PhD

The mural depicts these scientists, some of whom study zebra finches and cephalopods, while others help students in New York City discover, explore and pursue science. Notably, the artwork shares images of individuals experiencing joy, whether it’s children musing at test tubes or scientists telling stories. 


Zuckerman Institute scientists are depicted on one side of the mural, alongside their research and personal interests
(Credit: Paula Croxson/Columbia University).


The medium is spray paint, an homage to the hip-hop culture that permeates New York City in the past and present. “I paint murals that directly reflect the culture and aesthetics of the respective community: art that represents us,” DISTER noted with pride. 


In 2008, DISTER founded I LOVE MY HOOD, an artistic movement dedicated to loyalty and respect of culture and community. This mural adds to the rich repertoire of DISTER’s community-based artwork.

The artist at work on the mural. One side features BioBus chief scientific officer Dr. Latasha Wright
(Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


The mural will be on display in the windows of the Education Lab in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center through the fall of 2021. We invite passersby to come and view the mural, which is clearly visible from street level. The art acknowledges that what we see on a daily basis influences what we aspire to become for the rest of our lives. To DISTER, the mural’s payoff at the Education Lab is by no means limited to beautification; he will also be working with scientists at the Zuckerman Institute and BioBus to host events involving science and the arts for the local community. 

The artist’s child gets involved with mural creation in their own way
(Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


DISTER’s work advances the mission of the Zuckerman Institute to help make science more accessible and interdisciplinary, by breaking out from the expectations of traditional scientific programming.


Learn about our work with the 2019-2020 Artist in the Education Lab, Ivan Forde.
To get involved, tell us your ideas, or to find out more, email us at [email protected].

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