As students, alumni, and fans from all walks of life flock to Athens for reunions, downtown business storefronts come alive with paintings that inspire the nostalgic and proud spirit that unites fans of the University of Georgia.
The UGA’s reunion committee orchestrates an annual window painting competition in the spirit of reunion season. Student organizations and school departments have the option of partnering with downtown businesses to design business-specific display artwork.
Painters begin the process by contacting the companies assigned to them to conceptualize the paintings, get the sketches approved, and schedule a time to paint the physical windows. Painters will bring their supplies and talents and transform the windows by the evening of October 14 during reunion week, and any necessary cleaning will be completed the following week.
These painted windows are a beloved tradition of reunion week in Athens. The art of window displays will be on display during the reunion parade on Friday, October 15. The board of directors of the reunion committee will judge the art of window displays on the UGA spirit, the representation of the organization and its general aspect.
Karissa Chilcote, chair of community outreach for the reunion committee, said the purpose of the event is to bridge the gap between campus and business in Athens. Painting windows is a great way for attendees to show off their creative side and have fun, Chilcote said.
“Often we think of the UGA as just a campus, and we don’t think of the [businesses] that we affect with our daily life. It’s a good way to let our companies know about our appreciation and also show them their support for UGA, ”said Chilcote.
During the week of the reunion competition, the student organizations and departments of the UGA make up two divisions: the red division and the black division.
Student organizations will compete with other student organizations, while UGA departmental organizations will compete with other UGA departmental organizations. There will be two winners, one from each division, at the end of the week.
Divisions compete against each other to earn points based on specific competitions and can reach a maximum of 2,000 points by the end of the week. In addition to the window painting competition, other events include Dawg Dash 5K, School College Day, a lip sync battle, and the reunion parade.
Window art gives competitors points to contribute to their overall score. If a group chooses to participate, they will receive 25 points. In addition, the first place winner will receive 100 points. The second placement will receive 75 points. The third placement will receive 50 points.
Abby Wohlford, deputy director for campus participation on the reunion committee, said if organizations miss the opportunity this year, they can apply next year by visiting the UGA reunion website.
“We haven’t been able to be around a lot of people this year so it’s really important to be able to set something up as an organization and do something in person,” Wohlford said.