Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UWG Artists: A Presence in the Peachtree Road Race

No matter who wins this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race, the University of West Georgia will have a presence in the race. The winner of the t-shirt design contest will be announced July 4, the day of the race, and three of the school’s art students are among the five finalists.

But designs by two other UWG artists are already part of the Peachtree event. Race volunteers will wear Holly Berndt’s peach-hued design. T-shirts bearing Kyler Hembree’s road sign design will be on sale during the 2012 Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo on July 1 and 2 at the Georgia World Congress Center.       

“I’m proud of what the students have done,” said Clint Samples, associate professor of art, who uses the contest as a teaching tool in his Digital Media for Artists class. “This is a huge accomplishment. We are holding our own against professionals in the Atlanta area.”

His students have been contenders in the design contest for four consecutive years. Two, in 2011 and 2010, have won it. Last year, designs by two of Samples’ students were also selected for other events related to the road race – the expo and the Atlanta Track Club’s In-Training for Peachtree program. In 2009 a design submitted by Samples was used for the expo t-shirt.

For this year’s contest Berndt, 23, took Samples advice to paint first. She painted the peach and the swoop of color below it by hand, scanning it into her computer later. Berndt used Photoshop for the skyline and overlaid the letters with the colors from her painting.

“I wasn’t expecting to win anything,” said Berndt, an art education major who graduated this spring. She will begin teaching at Staley Middle School in Sumter County this fall.

“They want you to be different and I tried to make mine different. I wanted it to be pretty – something that someone would want to wear,” Berndt said.

Hembree created her design when she took Sample’s class last year. The art education major, who graduated in 2011, is teaching at South Paulding Middle School. She recently opened Local Color, an art studio offering classes for children and adults, on Main Street in Villa Rica. 

The call from the Atlanta Track Club “was totally out of the blue,” said Hembree, 28.

Hembree started her design with a montage of road signs. “I wanted to do stuff that you would see on the road.”

But she decided the look was too cluttered and simplified the design, creating one red, white and blue sign instead. She used a Sharpie marker to write “Peachtree” and added a stem and leaf to the top of the sign. “To give it that Peachtree look,” she said.

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