Paint the Bridge

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Washington Avenue bridge rendering.png
Artist's rendering of the Washington Avenue Bridge, Alumni News, October 1965, Courtesy of University Archives

While Paint the Bridge dates back to the early 1990s, there were previous attempts to make the walkways on the Washington Avenue Bridge more hospitable to students, none of which have been as successful. The Washington Avenue bridge opened on October 4, 1965, replacing a bridge that had been built in a slightly different location in 1885. Once the old bridge began to sway in the wind its safety had become questionable. Yet, it took years for the original bridge, which lacked a covered walkway, to be replaced.

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Artist's rendering of the interior of the Gallery, Alumni News, October 1965, Courtesy of University Archives

The architect, Winston Close, had grand plans for the bridge and thought that the bridge would be known throughout the world as an exemplary bridge design. There were high hopes in particular for the walkway, or the Gallery, as it was originally known. The goal was to include restaurants, ticket booths, a bookstore and art galleries, but the bridge would not have been able to handle the additional weight. However, the university did hold events on the bridge, and the first event was a sale of student art works in May, 1968.

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Paint the Bridge, 2010

The plans to make the walkway a gathering place for students never flourished and the bridge and the walkway were neglected. As of 1986, the U planned to paint the interior of the walkway bright colors to make it more welcoming. Although there are some reports that Paint the Bridge started in 1990 or 1991, the first reference I found in the Minnesota Daily was from April, 1993. Students were able to paint environmentally inspired murals. As of 1994, Paint the Bridge has taken place in September and originally was open to both students and alumni. In 1996, The University Community Building Project and the Office of Student Activities merged to form the Campus Involvement Center. Currently, Paint the Bridge is run by the Student Activities Office and continues to provide registered student groups a chance to express themselves, highlight their group, and improve the ambiance of the walkway.  

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Paint the Bridge, 2010     

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This page contains a single entry by Caitlin Cohn published on November 19, 2012 2:09 PM.

Let no man enter here was the previous entry in this blog.

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