When Van Truong, a 20-year-old University of Florida sophomore, got bored with studying during exam week, she replicated Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night with her science notes on a white board at one of University of Florida’s libraries.

The photos of her artwork began to spread throughout campus. The school newspaper wrote an article about it, and family and friends sent her pictures they found of her artwork online.

Van Truong is pictured with her original Starry Night artwork made from her biology notes.

”I was really surprised and just appalled [when it got so much attention],” Truong says. “It’s a weird artist internal conflict. I created it and was really happy and like this was cool, but it was weird for me to be around others appreciating it.”

When Truong, an anthropology student, saw people changing the artwork by adding their own pieces, she realized the potential it had for student engagement.

“I liked the idea of people erasing certain parts or editing certain words,” she says.

Based on the public’s response, Truong created a group called Project Springboard with the intent of creating art that would encourage people from different academic disciplines to work together.

“We want to challenge ourselves, if we created an amazing art piece, will that help us communicate a message farther and wider in a more thoughtful way.”

The group recently won a grant from UF’s Bob Graham Center to begin construction on a 6-foot by 8-foot wooden board with a grid of nails. Students will get colored rubber bands which they’ll wrap around two nails close to each other. The final product will be a rubber band Mona Lisa.
Students at the event will also be asked to write their favorite female role models on slips of paper in order to encourage a discussion on feminism which the group plans on using in another project “It reinforces that art and any topic are inseparable,” she says. “At first it doesn’t amount to something and you can’t see it off the bat, but later on it does matter because it all adds together.”

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