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Morgantown mural shows off art student’s talents

An art education student takes part in painting a mural on Beechurst Avenue

A new mural on Beechurst Avenue is now complete thanks to Art Education students in West Virginia University’s School of Art & Design.

The mural, located at 210 and 230 Beechurst Avenue, took five months to complete after 304 Properties Management first contacted Associate Professor of Art Education Terese Giobbia about bringing life to the blank wall in their parking lot. 

Giobbia and several students met with 304 Properties Management to discuss the vision for the mural before Payton Brown, a graduate student in the School of Art & Design, created a sketch approved by her fellow students, then presented to the property owner.

An art education student takes part in painting a mural on Beechurst Avenue

“The theme was West Virginia and famous people from the state,” Brown said. “The students had put together a list of ideas and I combined them into a sketch where the people are dispersed among a landscape with mountains, to reference the Mountain State. We also thought it would be a good idea to incorporate some significant places around West Virginia and WVU, so I also created a sketch that included Woodburn Hall at WVU, as well as the New River Gorge, and our state flower, the rhododendron.”

After Brown did the initial sketch on paper, graduate student Elaina DePetro created the design digitally on her iPad. When the final mural was approved and ready to paint, Brown outlined the mural with spray paint before handing over most of the painting work to art education students.

“Prior to this experience, I had never created or designed a mural at this scale,” Brown said. “I learned a lot, especially how to adapt and make decisions on the spot. There were a few times when I was at the wall spray painting the outlines and we decided to move some things around, so being able to deviate from the original idea and create a new plan on the spot required some quick thinking, but it all turned out fine! Overall, it was a super fun experience and I would love to do something like this again in the future.”

Completed mural on Beechurst Avenue painted by Art Education students

Giobbia applied and received a Rural Youth Engagement through Public Arts Grant funded by the West Virginia Arts Council for the project. 304 Properties Management matched the funding.

Art Education students took shifts throughout the summer to paint the mural.

Along with Brown and DePetro, students Ashley Aaron, Jesse Foster, Carlie Pollock, Megan labarbera, Christiana Bouvy, Joanna Jacinto, Robin Smith, Lily Buckley and Ashley Peskar took part in the project. Student Richard Silva documented the process through photography.