Clio Logo
The Fitchburg Art Museum's Contemporary Art Tour
Item 11 of 11

On our final stop of this digital tour, we have Flights of Imagination: Juliet, Kate, Ophelia by KK Kozik, a mural in the Fitchburg State University Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library created in 2018. The mural depicts 650 scattered books that spiral up the staircase walls with a color scheme and name relating to Shakespeare’s famous plays.

Photo by Jay Troy

Building, Property, Plant, Stairs

Photo by KK Kozik

Art, Creative arts, Font, Craft

Photo by Jay Troy

Stairs, Wood, Floor, Flooring

Flights of Imagination: Juliet, Kate, and Ophelia is a mural by KK Kozik that resides in the stairwell at the Fitchburg State University Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library. It depicts 650 staggered, toppling books that spiral up and down the stairwell. The original idea for this mural was created in 1996 with a design depicting the interior of a library. From that image, Kozik got the idea to create more paintings showing various books of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Flights of Imagination was created with these paintings in mind.

KK Kozik worked with the library to create this vibrant and relevant mural in order to make the staircases of the library just as lively as the rest of the building. Library patrons who regularly passed by, watched the work grow from chalk line sketches to its final creation over the seven-week process. Kozik reflects on this transformation saying, “While the process was physically exhausting, it was cheering to see viewers’ smiles and hear their commendations." 

On the base level, passersby may see the books in the mural and think they were painted at random to match the theme of the library; however, it goes deeper than just that. The name of this artwork mentions three names: Juliet, Kate, and Ophelia, these names are in reference to Shakespeare’s plays and The Four Humors. The theory of The Four Humors is about personality types and temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. These are represented through color in KK Kozik’s artistry. As the books spiral on, you will notice that the color scheme changes. What is being displayed are these four humors. The reds and pinks represent Juliet and sanguine. Kate is shown to hold choler as her humor through greens and yellows. Finally, we have Ophelia who displays and represents two humors: Melancholy and Phlegm. These get two different color schemes: Melancholy holds the earth tones and fall-based colors, while Phlegm gets a more winter and “delicate watery palette." The depth of Kozik's design allows students and other viewers to reflect and engage with this mural as they progress throughout the staircase. As you move, you will see the theme changes to match these four humors. As Kozik explains, “The theory of The Four Humors is a consideration of mind and body connections." This is something that anyone can relate to. 

KK Kozik hopes to inspire wonder for those who walk up and down the stairwell past her mural. As Kozik describes it, “While those climbing the stairs move between floors full of books and words and intellectual history, I like the idea that to experience the fruit of my inspiration and thoughts requires movement.”

Artist website:

Writer: Meaghan Carney

Speaker: Ryan Normand