Beta Bridge painters revealed

A group of heretofore mysterious artists have finally been revealed as the painters of the masterful faux brick design that has covered the east side of Beta Bridge for the past month. Impressive in its own right, the project is also remarkable for its apparent role in the preservation of the orange and maroon "Hoos for Hokies" message painted on the bridge on the day of the Virginia Tech massacre. 'Hoos for Hokies' has remained unpainted-over longer than any other message since Beta Bridge became a daily-altered canvas in the 1970s. Nine UVA undergraduate students and their professor, Sara Brown, painted the brick trompe l'oeil as a final project in their Scenic Painting class this past spring semester. "We've done this kind of thing as a final class

project before," says Brown, but since this year's project became inevitably linked to the preservation of 'Hoos for Hokies,' it has enjoyed a different and more public success than previous ones have. Brown began assigning her students a final project to be painted on Beta Bridge several years ago, when she realized that a large, public project would be the perfect culmination of the all skills her students had acquired that semester. Last fall, she had graduate and undergraduate students paint opposite sides of the bridge in a kind of friendly competition. "In the past, our projects have been painted over almost immediately though," says Brown. This spring's class had been planning their project all semester, but those plans changed when tragedy struck Virginia Tech with only two weeks of classes left. "We decided that we didn't want to paint over the original Virginia Tech messages, but around them instead. So we planned the painting to be integrated with what was already there," says Brown. It turned out to be an apt challenge, since "scenic painting is about problem solving anyways," she says. "The day after [the Tech massacre], everyone in class was very somber, though it's usually a lighthearted class," says Brown. "I think they were actually happy to be able to focus on a particular task." The faux brick design was Brown's idea, although she originally planned to imitate old stone. "We decided to mimic the brick right next to the bridge [on the wall surrounding Westminster Presbyterian church] to make the painting more convincing," she says. Once they decided on the brick motif, the nine students in her class spent several class periods creating samples and testing different techniques for creating the design. On Tuesday, May 1, their last day of classes, students and teacher gathered at the bridge at 8am and spent "about two hours painting the bridge," says Brown. The students began by painting the bridge a base color to match the nearby brick. Next, they dipped string in paint, pulled it taut, and snapped it against the wall to create the mortar detail. Finally, they "splattered different colored glazes" on top, to mimic the various tones of aging brick. "We did a lot of making up as we went," says Brown, who predicts that "Hoos for Hokies" and her class's surrounding design have a "good shot" of staying up the rest of the summer. "I think people may add to or change what we did," she says, "and that's great." #

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1 comment

interesting phenomena.this may be a symbol of a significant shift in relations between the student bodies away
fractious athletic competitions etc towards friendly is not hard to imagine a weekend of parties dedicated
to hosting Tech students .
How long will the great artwork survive?