Cars cruised by as students and locals relived the memories and history of some of San Marcos’ oldest buildings.
Communication design students set up an exhibit called Grafik Intervention. This display showed revamped, run-down buildings in the Dunbar Historic District and was presented on March 22. Students projected type and animation onto the buildings using the façades as their canvas.
The idea came from a professor at Farris State University who wanted to use visually compelling work to make abandoned buildings look usable to the public.
“He created a kit for it so others could create this project and we are the first in Texas to do this,” Roselynn Newton, assistant professor, said. “We didn’t know how this would turn out until we got to the site. This project really captures the history and story of these buildings.”
The exhibit was an assignment for Newton’s typography design class. The students were asked to find abandoned buildings and use words to recapture what they used to be.
The teams involved in this project were composed of three people each, with Hays County Jail, Ulysses Cephas’ Historic Home and the First Baptist Church being the focus of the assignment. Each building presented surprises and difficulties for the teams.
“Scaling was difficult and figuring out how much information to put at one time,” Emma Stephens, communication design senior, said. “We did a lot of research and talked to locals who gave us blueprints, pictures and just amazing history about these buildings.”
The teams had to deal with cars and tree branches right before the presentation. Matt Kaiser, communication design senior, said they also had to make changes to the actual program on-site.
“Its crazy how weeks of work becomes only a few minutes,” Kaiser said. “But it really helps bring awareness to and explain these buildings. Plus, it was a lot of fun.”
This was the first semester a project like this has been taken on, but it may be Grafik Intervention’s last display for Texas State.
“Getting this combination of buildings is rather special, and using them again would diminish that,” Newton said. “We may do modern buildings, but doing the same thing wouldn’t do justice to these places.”
The audience was full of people from different backgrounds, including locals who had grown up when the buildings were used. They were given surveys with diagrams to show how they wanted the buildings to be restored.
“This project has engaged so many locals, and really showed how distraught they are about the neglect of these buildings,” Stephens said. “Hopefully we can show them, and the community, that people can make a difference.