The vibrant view along Main Street features scenes ranging from basketball to Soap Box Derby racers in action.
Red traffic lights are going to be a lot more popular among drivers as they near the Polsky Building these days.
Displayed prominently on a wall in the design x nine studio are photos of the new Polsky Building windows designed with a method developed by Jeff Dumire, far right. Among those assisting in the production were Jef Etters, left, and Ross Horvath.
And why not? The pause will give them the opportunity to view the newly created artwork that now fills the 22 first floor windows along Main and State streets, and University Avenue.
Drivers and pedestrians alike will be able to enjoy the vibrantly colored scenes of both the campus and the Akron community, created by graphic design students in UA's design x nine studio in the Myers School of Art.
From a view of InfoCision-Stadium-Summa Field to classroom scenes and a soccer game, from the marching band to the Goodyear Blimp and an All-American Soap Box Derby racing car, the students have captured very familiar facets of our life here.
The project was initiated by the Department of Institutional Marketing.
"The Polsky Building is one of the 'front doors' to campus," says Ron Ramos, creative director. "We want it to have a welcoming presence, and to create interest in the University and all that is happening here.
"When the time came to create a new look for the windows, we wanted to give our students the benefit of doing a large scale project such as this," Ramos explains. "We gave them the freedom to think about the University and how it relates to downtown Akron. We wanted the windows to represent their interpretation of Akron as an urban city, and how UA is a part of that."
The studio, under the direction of Janice Troutman, professor of art, and John Morrison, associate professor of art, operates as both a class and an agency. The young graphic designers hone their skills as they produce posters, brochures, advertising materials and other projects for clients on and off campus.
Like any agency, the students meet with clients, research and develop concepts, and work as a team on the production of each project to bring it to completion.
The members of the design x nine team who created the new artwork for the Polsky Building windows — Jeff Dumire, Jef Etters, Ross Horvath, Dana Galbraith, Charity Wright, Adam Gsellman and Kerry Holmes — began work on the project during spring semester.
They sorted through hundreds of photographs to find just the right fit — for the windows and for the method developed by Dumire to stylize each photo in a one-of-a-kind way.
Inspired by what he describes as a "fractured glass" technique applied to art he saw at a show in Miami, Dumire used the computer program PhotoShop to create his own technique for manipulating the shapes and angles within photos and intensifying the colors.
"What Jeff has developed is a style of image making that is repetitive and expansive," says Etters, who, along with Horvath, spent dozens of hours over the summer helping Dumire on the production of each image.
"The method is time-consuming, because you're shifting the elements and the balance within the image to slightly alter the whole picture, but the effect can be pretty cool," says Dumire.
And well-suited to a project with such high visibility, adds Troutman.
"It's very much like creating artwork for a billboard. You have about 10 seconds to make an impact. What the students have created is dynamic and nontraditional, with instant appeal."
The students' artistic license doesn't stop there. They've worked themselves and the design x nine studio into one of the window scenes.
The scene is actually from a photo taken by Dumire, one of two he shot for the project.
He also did the photograph that became the stylized image of InfoCision-Stadium-Summa Field in vivid blues and purples. Church Hill Classics, which makes diploma frames, will be producing framed copies of the image that will be available at the bookstores on campus.
Power Media, an Akron-based firm, used an adhesive plastic material to manufacture the window-sized images.
The Polsky Building windows project — in scope and time, is one of the largest every undertaken by design x nine, notes Morrison.
"We pick projects for our students that we believe will have a good educational outcome. At the beginning, there is always that moment when you wonder if the good ideas will come. They always do."
Story by Joette Dignan Weir.
Media contact: Laura M. Massie, 330-972-6476 or email@example.com