Street Painting, tradition since 1980s, still a student favorite during Relays

Story by Beth LeValley

Drake University’s Student Activities Board hosted the annual Street Painting on Friday from 4-7 p.m.

A tradition since before the 1980s, Street Painting brings excitement to campus every spring.

What begins as a rectangle of white transforms into 54 colorful advertisements for Drake organizations.

Ashley Fellows, a coordinator of the street painting event, collaborated with partner Emily Callen to plan the event.

They are both members of the Student Activities Board.

They have also worked on the Mud Run and parts of the carnival for the 2014 Drake Relays.

Fellows and Callen decide what organizations get a square based on how well they executed both their goals as an organization and the theme of Relays.

“Choosing out of all the amazing submissions is hard,” Fellows said. “We would extend the street if we could.”

Drake’s Top-3 Street Painting squares are chosen to paint at the downtown Court Avenue Street Painting celebration, Fellows said.

“It is such an awesome tradition that not many other college campuses get to experience,” Fellows said.

Katie Canepa, the fundraising chair of the Drake Tennis Club, hopes to spread the name of the club to get more people involved.

“Last year, they asked if anyone had a design for the square, and I just volunteered myself,” Canepa said. “I’m an art minor, so I like designing things.”

The design last year included a layout that looked like a dictionary reference and had the phrase, “You only live once, but you get to serve twice.”

This year, they showed a bulldog with a tennis ball in its mouth.

“Since the theme is ‘snapshots of excellence,’ we (wanted) to have cameras in the background,” Canepa said. “It’s simplistic, but it embraces the tennis club and the Relays theme this year.”

Tennis Club created the fundraising chair for the first time to help pay for equipment, gas, tournament fees and other expenses.

“First semester, it’s harder to get people involved,” Canepa said. “It’s hard to explain that Tennis Club isn’t as competitive as Drake’s tennis team. It’s more recreational.”

As fundraising chair, Canepa keeps money in mind while organizing the event.

“We like to cut down on colors to try and save money,” Canepa said. “We also mix our own colors, so we don’t have to buy separate cans.”

Dana Gjoen, a member of Carpenter Hall’s executive board and Relays Committee, was also involved in designing a square.

“Carpenter is really unified,” Gjoen said. “For example, in one part of our square we (have) handprints of each member of the executive council.”

Carpenter also featured the big events that the residence hall hosts every year, such as Carpenter Coffeehouse and Mr. Carpenter.

They hope to display Carpenter’s charm and bonding through their square.

“It’s not one specific thing,” Gjoen said. “It’s really all of us that make Carpenter our home.”

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