In fall of 2019, UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Kristen Christman came across an article about teachers who had painted uplifting messages in school bathrooms.
Inspired by the idea, Lowrance and a few of her classmates teamed up to paint bathroom stalls at Reidsville Middle School in October 2019. Since then, the “Paint the Town Positive” project has expanded rapidly, with Lowrance painting positive messages and colorful murals for a number of elementary and middle schools across the Triad.
For Lowrance, the project is the perfect blend of her personal and academic interests – painting and communications – and serves not only as a community service project, but also as a research project. She is currently working on an independent study with Christman that documents the project and considers the interplay of visual art and communication. Additionally, Lowrance’s work will be featured in the upcoming Thomas Undergraduate Research Creativity Expo, and as part of the Senior BFA Exhibition displayed at Greensboro Project Space.
In March of 2020, Lowrance was in the middle of painting at Hope Street Academy when she was forced to put the project on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has since returned to the project, and most recently she painted at UNCG’s Moss Street Partnership School.
“This project has affected me personally and professionally,” said Lowrance. “It’s helped me to see myself as a leader and to take on challenges even when it was hard to see an outcome. Being an artist is about problem solving, so I’ve just found a way to adapt my skills into our project.”
Erika was recently accepted into the Master of Arts in Communication Studies program at UNCG. She plans to continue “Paint the Town Positive” as a graduate student.