Construction on campus can be a bland sight to see, but the new paintings being added to the blue fence surrounding the Student Union expansion have been catching people’s attention.
According to Gale Antokal, a professor of pictorial art, the paintings on the blue wall along the walkway facing the Music building started around Spring 2011.
Antokal saw the blue wall as a canvas instead of just a fence around the construction, and it was her idea for paintings to go up on the wall.
She said the purpose of the art on the wall is to make people aware of painting and art history.
She also said the paintings show the “wonderful skills and talents our students possess.”
The artists that paint on the blue wall are students who are in The Dirty Brushes, an art organization on campus for students involved in the pictorial arts area, Antokal said.
She also said the students who paint on the wall are either pictorial art majors or are currently in painting classes.
According to Charles Thompson, an Open University student in The Dirty Brushes, the paintings on the blue wall are done by current art students.
Thompson said specific students aren’t picked to be able to paint on the wall, but they volunteer to do so.
He said the paintings that are already on the wall are going to stay there while new ones are going to be added to the right of them, still in front of the Music building.
Thompson also said graffiti has been an issue that is being sorted out.
Natalie Nguyen, a sophomore finance major, said “I enjoy seeing (the paintings) when I walk by but I see (graffiti) and feel that it’s disrespectful to the artists.”
According to Terry Gregory, Student Union associate director, there are people who walk around the blue fence daily to check for stickers, posters and markings that aren’t supposed to be there.
Gregory said after finding some graffiti on the paintings, he would get in touch with Antokal and the art students would make sure the markings that aren’t supposed to be there are wiped away before touching up the paintings.
“I enjoy watching the murals evolve," said Kristin Kelly, Student Union associate director. "I think that the merging of the art at the construction site as well as the wall itself are a great example of blending form and function.”
According to Antokal, the supplies are funded by the Student Union.
“We agreed to pay for their paint, brushes and other supplies,” Gregory said.
He said the Student Union reimbursed the art department about $600 to $650 for the supplies, and said the Student Union is happy to be a part of this project.
“I think the nice part for us is supporting (the art students) and also putting something on the blue fence students can look at,” Gregory said.
According to Antokal, people have been responding positively to the paintings and the artists are always asked questions about their work.
“You’re really seeing the way painting is supposed to happen," she said. "You get to see how a canvas is put together, and see it in its bare bones.”
Antokal said the specific paintings that are chosen to be on the wall have been picked by students as well as suggested by art historians within the department.
“We have renaissance portraits all the way up to contemporary," she said. "We’re trying to be mindful of diversity. We want representations of all parts of the world, all cultures and genders.”
According to Antokal, the paintings on the wall is an ongoing project that will continue throughout the spring semester.
Antokal said when the Student Union construction is finished and the blue walls come down in this area, the construction company will place the wall with the paintings in an area where more work is being done.
She said she hopes that maybe someday the paintings will go somewhere more permanent.
“Each (painting) was done with such craftsmanship that they really deserve to live,” she said.
According to Thompson, the artists are going to do as many paintings as they can on the blue wall since there’s plenty of space.