A Mural's Soundtrack

Fifty Songs for the Fifty Layers in Leah Rosenberg's Mural Commission

November 2021

A delightful, eclectic playlist…

Artist Leah Rosenberg (b. 1979) curated this playlist to accompany Getting Better Everyday a Color (2021), a mural she painted in tribute to her late collaborator Susan O’Malley (1976–2015). The playlist became an evolving soundtrack for the mural’s creation; Each song corresponds with one of fifty layers of color Rosenberg painted between August and November 2021.

The eclectic, largely upbeat mix features Rosenberg’s additions and songs suggestions that came from O’Malley’s friends and family. “I wanted to include people important in Susan’s life in some way into the process,” Rosenberg says. “I collected songs old and new, silly and sad, loud and quiet. The stories that accompanied their contributions were funny and joyful and at times introspective. Mostly they provided me with a glimpse into Susan’s life before I knew her, which has been such a treat.”

The playlist’s title—”If You Are Stuck, Turn on the Music and Dance”—comes from one of fifty self-care messages Rosenberg embedded in her mural’s painted layers. Each line derives from a list of healing exercises O’Malley compiled in Getting Better Every Day (2013); like the late artist’s broader work, the text reflects an enduring sense of optimism and a belief in art’s ability to help us connect with each other.

“Getting Better Everyday a Color” (2021) is commissioned as part of the series “Bay Area Walls.” The mural is free to see in Schwab Hall through January 23, 2022.