The Georgia Cyber Center at Augusta University is now home to new artwork designed by students from the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
The project was developed after Michael Shaffer, Georgia Cyber Center executive vice president of strategic partnerships and economic development, saw a student mural outside the recently renovated Roar Store in Washington Hall on AU’s Summerville Campus.
With that artwork in mind, Shaffer and the cyber center team hosted an art competition open to the entire Augusta University campus.
Animation student Emily Hogue, who designed the Roar Store mural, and Beth Droppleman, an art student and former French professor, collaborated to come up with the winning designs.
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Two of the three pieces of art were recently unveiled on the third floor of the Shaffer MacCartney Building in the area referred to as “The Hive.” It’s a space built for innovation, so the nickname, along with the murals, fit perfectly.
With that moniker in mind, the winning artwork features a variety of bees and is titled “Bees in Time.”
“At first we were just strictly a bee theme, then Beth kind of brought in the Phinizy Swamp with the flowers and fauna,” said Hogue. “You can really tell our different styles. She is more traditional, acrylic pours, painterly, and I have a very cartoony, flat style.”
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The one piece of artwork depicts the bees through the ages, dating back to the Stone Age and eventually showing bees of today, with a little technology added.
Droppleman admits she’s not a muralist but was inspired after touring the building and was encouraged by her family to find a collaborator on the project.
“I decided the only way I can do it is to have a pro on my team,” said Droppleman. “I knew Emily because we had a painting class together, and I loved her style, and she liked my style, so we had some things in common.”
The size of the walls posed a challenge, but Droppleman said she’s a driven artist and started researching everything. She’s also a gardener, so that led to the idea of adding the native plants to the artwork.
One of the pieces is located on the welcome wall as people arrive onto the third floor. It’s a wide-ranging piece of art that features many of Augusta’s native flora and fauna and could almost be considered whimsical, which is right up Hogue’s alley.
“I think a lot of my art style also comes from Dr. Seuss,” said Hogue.
Scott Thorp, chair of the Department of Art & Design in Pamplin College, was on hand for the unveiling and knows art can tell a story, no matter where it is located.
“Art really has the power to transform spaces and really has the ability to engage people and promote community and foster community,” said Thorp.