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Tunnel Vision

The underpass that connects the east and west campuses of Shepherd University is being enhanced and transformed, from a convenience into an experience. Before the painting could start, contractors had to sandblast the walls of the underpass to remove a clear graffiti coating, then re-prime and paint them with a base coat. Days of work just to start this public art project! Design-oriented and abstract rather than classic and representational, the work is a 3-D space, rather than a static flat-wall mural. The overall theme is nature- and West Virginia-inspired—rolling mountain vistas, chimney swifts, wind turbines, rhododendron forms, trees—overall advocating for the beauty and protection of the environment. The positive benefits of public art are many: It personalizes spaces. It represents a community that is forward-thinking, one that embraces and celebrates art and culture. Successful public art evokes meaning in the public realm while retaining high artistic quality; it provides visual interest along a pathway; and it encourages walking.­—Sonja Evanisko


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