by Trinity King
If you’ve used the West Mall crosswalk recently (the one between the University Co-Op and the Union) you may have noticed a colorful new addition to the pavement. Created and designed by Anna Fields and Joel Weber, a senior undergraduate in Studio Art and a recent Design alum, respectively, the colorful new crosswalk has been fondly nicknamed the “Sunset Crosswalk.”
“A majority of the design was derived from specific elements of the native Texas landscape,” said Weber. “From the incredible wide-open sunset sky, to the native plants that used to grow wild in the area, to the crosswalk’s colors that are directly inspired from photographed colors of an Austin sunset, we wanted to showcase how urban planning and development affect the human experience for both the better and the worse.”
While the actual painting of the sidewalk only took a day, the road to get there was long, as Weber navigated the city’s complicated permitting process required to make changes to the busy intersection. He spent months attending meetings, reviewing designs, talking to donors and applying for funding.
The crosswalk was made possible in part thanks to a College of Fine Arts Civic Engagement Grant, which was underwritten by Glenn and Louan Rogers of Midland, Texas. Fields and Weber also received a donation from traffic safety and pavement marking company Ennis-Flint of a special paint designed to last 10 years.
“It’s truly been an example of how people from all over — designers, artists, engineers and local businesses — can all work together to make successful public art projects,” said Weber.
Fields and Weber were motivated to beautify the space and create a safe pedestrian experience in such a busy part of campus. “The West Mall crosswalk has always been a dirty and underachieving space that has bothered me since I began studying at UT, and it’s been on my list for an intervention for quite some time.
“With the colorful depiction of Texas’ beautiful sunsets and landscapes, we hope the Sunset Crosswalk can be a simple moment in someone’s day where they’re reminded that no matter what stands in their way today, tomorrow is a new day with new hope,” said Weber.
photos by Lawrence Peart