Seeing yourself as Squidward



Paintings of the character Squidward from the children television show “Spongebob Squarepants”, fills the walls of the Looking Glass at the Cadman Gallery in the Rhatigan Student Center.

One Squidward, two Squidward, three Squidward, four, and many more Squidwards fill the walls of the Looking Glass at the Cadman Gallery in the Rhatigan Student Center.

These Squidwards, created by Shocker Hall residents, vary in size, shape, color, and content, and are all self-portraits through the lens of the cynical “Spongebob Squarepants” character.

“So, this whole thing started out with just my floor,” said Mariah Snow, the RA who created the program.

Every month, RA’s create a program and bulletin board for their floor. When Snow decided on the Squidward self-portraits program, her bulletin board was on individuality and self-identity.

Snow said she chose individuality as the theme for her floor’s program and board because her floor “has been very close since the first night that they all moved in.” She said she wanted students on her floor to stay true to themselves.

“So, I wanted them to really open up about who they are on the floor, and like, what presence that they bring and what they wanted to tell like other people essentially about them,” Snow said.

The bulletin board and program didn’t have to relate to each other, Snow said, but as an education major, she likes structuring things and returning to them.

“They’re seeing the bulletin board and they’re like, reading about it. And then they go to this program that has seemingly nothing to do with it, but like, actually has everything to do with it,” Snow said.

When she first started the program, Snow just called it a “paint night,” rather than advertising it as Squidward self-portrait lab.

“I was going to surprise them with the Squidward part because I didn’t know if they would come if I told them they were painting themselves,” she recalled.

At the end of the first event, Snow said students were proud of their Squidwards, which is how talk of the Cadman got brought up. Snow polled her floor and discovered that there was enough interest to have their work displayed in the Looking Glass.

“So, I had to apply [to the Cadman] and then I had to come in and present to them,” Snow said. “I only did it because my residents like really wanted it, and so I was just making it happen for them.”

However, after succeeding in getting a spot at the Cadman, Snow said she realized a minor issue — her floor had only made 20 Squidward paintings.

So she went to present her program to other floors’ RAs.

“That way I could get more Squidwards that we could storm the RSC with,” Snow said.

“Let’s storm the RSC with Squidwards,” had become Snow’s catchphrase.

Now the student center — although mostly empty of students, due to the COVID-19 threat — is filled with pop culture’s favorite squid and statements from the students explaining what their Squidward means to them.

“Squidward paints pictures of himself, and they’re all different versions of him, but they’re all him,” Snow said. “They all look completely different, but they’re also beautiful because they’re different pieces of himself.”