UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 15 Winter 21 Library
Artist Chicho Lorenzo in front of his newest mural at WTJU 91.1FM. Image by Dan Grogan

Synesthesia in CVille: New WTJU Mural Appeals to Both Sound and Sight

Clean your ears...

...by listening to WTJU 91.1FM

If there is a single word that can accurately describe the rich history of WTJU, it would be “colorful.” From the larger-than-life personalities of its DJs to the spectacularly diverse array of sounds that have traveled across the CVille airwaves since WTJU’s maiden broadcast in 1957, the station has added more than its share of hues to the UVA experience, the Charlottesville community, and now to the world at large. 

These days, the colorful audio experience can be seen as well as heard, thanks to a new mural project recently unveiled on Ivy Road’s east-facing wall of its studio building. WTJU selected noted Charlottesville artist Chicho Lorenzo to create the mural, which features a giant radio and an aesthetic inspired by Art Nouveau and psychedelia. 

“These art styles not only look cool, but also arose as a response to increasing mechanization,” said WTJU General Manager Nathan Moore. “Today, WTJU is about nurturing beauty and human connection in a world that is increasingly algorithm-driven.” 

Moore said that the project came about as a result of Lorenzo’s artistry, in addition to key institutional partnerships and connections that WTJU has built and nurtured in the community. “We worked with the folks at the Charlottesville Mural Project at the Bridge PAI to coordinate the piece, and the mural was sponsored by UVA Arts & the Vice Provost for the Arts.” 

The newly-adorned wall will also serve to introduce the community to the excitement and inspiration that fills the building, achieved not only through its programming of excellent music and conversation on WTJU, but also the student-run WXTJ 100.1 FM Student Radio and the recently-launched Virginia Audio Collective, which produces quality podcasts from across Grounds and throughout the community. 

“We were so excited to move into this incredible new space, in part because it allowed us to welcome the community to our performance stage and gallery. When the pandemic hit, that was obviously no longer an option. As we safely return to events, I hope this dynamic mural will identify us in the local landscape and welcome the public to share arts experiences.”

Chicho Lorenzo on a cherry picker painting the WTJU Mural.
(Photo: Alan Goffinski, Director of the Bridge PAI and the Charlottesville Mural Project.)
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