Arts Alive hosts interactive painting event

by Alissa Kasawdish, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s Arts Alive was in the campus spotlight through painting benches with inspiring messages from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, outside of the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.

Arts Alive hosts signature events to raise visibility and promote public art on campus.

“We are always having interactive components and wanting more students on campus to have an opportunity to interact with art making,” Arts Alive SDSU Chair Dani Bedau said.

For a live, interactive component of the Thursday event, all students passing through the high-traffic area were able to paint a “U” on a red bench.

Arts Alive encouraged students to find their “U” in SDSU and leave a message on a bench, exemplifying the idea that every student has a purpose and belongs where he or she is.

“Anybody can come and make a ‘U’ and have a permanent mark on campus,” graphic design professor Arzu Ozkal said.

As a group project for Ozkal’s Design as Social Process course, freshmen interviewed students all around campus to gather information about different research topics prior to the pop-up event. The bench designs are a result of their findings.

Ozkal said students found interviewees had fears about fitting in and what they will accomplish after they graduate.

“Using design to show social problems and possible fixes is really unique,” said Rachel Hauprich, mathematics freshman and student of Ozkal’s design course.

“It is about being interactive and finding your place,” she said. “Having other people put the Us on the bench themselves is a lot more meaningful than us putting our ideas of what should be on the bench and then having it represent the school.”

One bench represented the research topic of balance.

Important things students balance everyday were painted across it, including work, class, family time, relationships, sleep and laughing.

Another bench painted in blue showed student quotes, including “I wish I was smarter” and “I can achieve my goals.”

An overall message painted on the seat of the bench read, “Confidence is ‘Believing in yourself and what you can achieve.’ Be Confident.”

The art bench project is an annual event sponsored by Arts Alive SDSU.

There are more than 30 benches across campus promoting arts and visibility.

“We will do them every fall for sure, and we are hoping to expand it to (both) spring and fall,” Bedau said.