SJSU in the News: Art Majors Turn Student Union Construction Site Barrier "Into a Thing of Beauty"

Pizarro: San Jose State students give construction site an artistic look

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Sept. 11, 2011.

By Sal Pizarro

Students and faculty in San Jose State’s art and art history departments have collaborated to turn a potential campus eyesore into a thing of beauty.

With demolition and construction taking place over the next two years on the university’s expanded student union, blue barrier walls have been constructed around the area, an often-used thoroughfare for campus pedestrians. But the creative teams from the university — a club dubbed the Dirty Brushes — have turned the blank wood walls into a canvas for a series of student-replicated self-portraits by well-known artists such as Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Picasso.

There’s also an interactive component, thanks to a guided phone tour (call 408-213-4295), narrated by art department Chairman Brian Taylor, who provides some information about the project, “Better than Blue.” On the phone tour, students also give the background of many of the self-portraits.

For probably the first time, it’ll be a real shame to see construction walls come down when the project is completed in 2013.