U gives bridge its annual coat of paint

Chelsie Hanstad

The Washington Avenue Bridge is getting its annual facelift this week as student groups and University departments paint panels advertising their existence and their school spirit.

Artists descended on the bridge Thursday, armed with brushes, paint, overhead projectors, cardboard patterns, stencils, spray paint and other decorative tools.

“We provide the paint and supplies. They provide the creativity and labor,” Student Activities Office program adviser Erich Martin said. Martin was one of several activities office employees distributing paint to workers Thursday from a table in the middle of the bridge.

Paint the Bridge is part of Campus Kickoff Days. It is a way for student groups and University departments to display school spirit and to promote student involvement, according to the activities office Web site.

Groups may reserve up to four panels. All 618 panels were reserved this year, Martin said. Panel information must contain an organization’s name and contact information. The rest is up to the students.

As well as showing spirit, the panels are a way for student groups to make the campus community aware of their activities and to recruit new members, according to the activities office Web site. Many groups painting this year said they found it a good way to advertise in past years.

“We do this every year,” chemistry senior Felix Boakye-Agyeman said.

Boakye-Agyeman was painting a logo for Community Placing Services. Another student had drawn it earlier. “(We work) in shifts,” he said.

Panel decorations ranged from group logos and murals to posters. Some groups chose to post only their contact information, others went for logos, some made political statements and some used comedy to get student attention.

Free food was available for painters at the Weisman Art Museum throughout the day. Radio K provided music. Painting will continue until 4 p.m. Friday. Murals will stay up until 2004’s Campus Kickoff Days, when the inside of the bridge will be painted white again, ready for next year’s artists.