UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 06 Spring 17 Library
Sanjay Suchak
UVA Arts

Creative Collaborations: Testimonial Mural on the UVA Corner

Today we know the name of one particular blessing that recently graced the Corner landscape – it is Testimonial, a mural that combines these words from Pulitzer Prize winning poet and UVA professor, Rita Dove, with the artistic talents of a world-renowned, Philadelphia-based painter David Guinn. The high-flying marriage of words and visual art spans eight stories and two sides of The Graduate Hotel (previously the Red Roof Inn). Created over the course of two months, the piece was unveiled last summer and is the third mural in the Paint & Poetry series presented by the Charlottesville Mural Project and New City Arts. The mural features angular shapes contrasting with gently bending lines, presented in a palette of vibrant colors that draw the eye and capture the imagination. From the beginning, this was a case of two great artistic minds thinking alike. Dove told a gathering at the mural’s debut event that she had offered Guinn several poems to choose from, all the while hoping he would choose this one. “I hoped he would pick this for many reasons,” she said. “I think one of the main reasons is it applies to all of us – at some point in our lives we hit a point where a door opens, or you see it slammed in your face, or you need to make a door. But when the moment your life stands before you, you say, ‘I’ve got to step up my game; this is the moment I need to address.’” Guinn was drawn to the poem partly because its inherent optimism reminded him of his own college experience. “The poem begins with “Back when the world was new,” he said. “To me, that evoked this moment, this elemental time of very simple things, shapes, and colors.”

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