The Knowledge


Title: The Knowledge
Photo Credit: Harrell Fletcher
Lead Artist(s):

Contributing Artist(s):
Avalon Kalin


The mural by Harrell Fletcher is titled "The Knowledge" and is installed on the campus of Portland State University (PSU) in the Central City's University District and faces a section of the downtown transit mall used by pedestrians, skateboarders, bikes, cars, and the local Light Rail. Apartments, small businesses, academic buildings, a bank, cafes, and restaurants support busy pedestrian traffic and activities in the area. The 20'H x 127'W mural has significantly improved the aesthetics of the surrounding area by adding vibrant color and graphics while promoting learning in a university setting. City planners, who occupy the upper floors of an office building a block away which offers a perfect bird's eye view of the wall, enthusiastically received the mural. Other people, either from campus, nearby businesses, or passers-by have also remarked about how much they like the brightly colored mural.

An additional benefit is this wall had been blank before and heavily targeted by graffiti on a regular basis. Since the mural has been up there has been a dramatic reduction in activities involving graffiti in this area. The university's motto, "Let Knowledge Serve the City," is referenced in the mural image depicting a series of stacked book spines and book jackets with titles displayed. Students, faculty and staff participated in a poll to choose titles from a list of over 300 books, and their credits are noted on the wall. Some but not all are library books with call numbers shown, referencing public access to reading materials. Titles include references to the adjacent educational community and local sustainability efforts, as well as topics of interest to the diverse PSU student body, the campus community in general, and neighboring businesses that support the University District area.


Faceing a section of the downtown transit mall on the campus of Portland State University in the Central City's University District
510 SW Hall
Portland, OR 97201
United States

click the map to enlarge

Portland State University
Portland State University

Digitally printed vinyl on concrete