This A-School Mural Gets a Boost From the Power of Pink

August 23, 2023 By Alice Berry, aberry@virginia.edu Alice Berry, aberry@virginia.edu

It’s a pop of pink amidst the modern sleek.

A new mural has gone up in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, thanks to the work of professor Sanda Iliescu and three architecture students. The mural stands out in the school’s Campbell Hall home, where neutral tones abound, and that’s the point.

“The Architecture School is so serious and sort of masculine,” said Iliescu, professor of architecture and studio art. “We thought we’d bring a splash of color and texture to the school, and that the colors would be pinks, which are traditionally associated with femininity."

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Landscape architecture student Ariana Arenius and recent graduates Dillon McDowell and Nita Wareechatchai spent their summer working on the mural, painstakingly dabbing and scraping paint across the wall to create varying textures.

“We have snail energy,” Wareechatchai said. “But I love looking at these colors every day.”

Like much of Iliescu’s work, the mural – titled “The Rosy Fingered Dawn” – exists somewhere between art and architecture. The students who worked on the mural appreciate that.

Students gathered at the wall to add paint
Recent graduates Wareetchatchai and Dillon McDowell, along with architecture professor Sanda Iliescu, experimented with different methods of painting. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

“You’re meant to engage with it,” Arenius said. It’s not possible to see the entire mural at once, so she hopes that students will touch it, bump into it and admire it close up.

The mural also brings a little more life into the building.

“It just normalizes having fun,” McDowell said.

Two students working around painters tape
Wareetchatchai and McDowell said working with vivid colors was inspiring. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
A different view of students working on the mural
Landscape architecture student Ariana Arenius hopes that the mural will encourage her fellow students to use color. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
A behind the scenes look at the work being done on the mural
Arenius said she loves working with Iliescu. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Paint being mixed
Iliescu, McDowell, Wareetchatchai and Arenius chose an array of traditionally feminine colors for the mural. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Two painters sit and one works from a ladder
The mural stands out in the mostly neutral tones of Campbell Hall. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Finished mural
The mural took about eight weeks to complete. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Media Contact

Alice Berry

University News Associate Office of University Communications