The Bigger Picture: The Environment’s ‘Fragile Beauty’

March 27, 2023 By Dan Addison, Dan Addison,

How do you hopefully draw attention to the world’s dire environmental crisis without causing despair? For Dillon McDowell, a fourth-year University of Virginia student majoring in architecture and global sustainability, the answer turned out to be a work of art.

McDowell and Sanda Iliescu, an associate professor at the School of Architecture, worked together for two weeks, with help from 38 students, staff and faculty members, to create “Fragile Beauty,” a 16-foot-long, multi-panel painting on canvas.

Inspired in part by Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the Thing With Feathers,” the artwork features birds and open hands as hopeful images and varies from dark and somber to bright and vibrant. The painting is on display through the end of April in the main lounge on the first floor of the Architecture School’s Campbell Hall home.

Related Story

Media Contact

Dan Addison

Photographer Office of University Communications