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Construction Barrier Opens Way for Student Artist

Tonya Berry ArtworkIt is often a challenge for new artists to have their work seen by lots of people. That won’t be a problem for Tonya Berry. 

Over the course of the next two years, thousands of drivers each day will see her work when they commute along Big Bend Road, in Kirkwood. Berry designed the artwork for the fencing barrier that will surround the new construction at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. In fact, her design will be used at all four STLCC campuses during the construction that is part of the STLCC Transformed initiative.  

“Having my artwork displayed means a lot to me,” Berry said. “I’ve always struggled with the thought that my artwork wasn’t good enough for the public eye. So, when my design was chosen and praised, it gave me a profound sense of accomplishment.”

Berry attended the STLCC-Meramec campus and graduated from the College in May with an associate degree in fine arts. The fence design itself incorporates elements that highlight the vast degrees and programs available to students and community members. The banners also feature the upcoming buildings and programs that will be new to campuses thanks to STLCC Transformed.

“I designed the people (on the banners) to be diverse so that many viewing the banner can feel represented,” Berry said. “And the color choices I made were to match the College’s iconic colors, while also adding orange and light blue to give off a welcoming feel.”

Berry’s time at Meramec was well-spent, as she also did graphic design work with the College’s literary journals “Currents” and “Sycamore.” She also gives credit to Michael Swoboda, her Graphic Design IV instructor, for helping her expand her artistic capabilities and experience new opportunities.

Tonya Berry artworkNow in the process of transferring to the University of Missouri-St. Louis for the fall semester, Berry plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. After that, she hopes to work for a design firm, freelance or pursue some other design opportunities.

“I’m just elated by the fact that a lot of people can enjoy my design while just simply commuting,” Berry said. “It’s what a lot of graphic designers dream of.”

While learning the skills that ultimately led to her making the banner design, Berry found herself becoming part of the community she was advertising.

“I hope many who see this banner can feel the innate sense of community that STLCC offers,” she said. “This College has helped shape my own path over the years.”

Berry wasn’t alone in celebrating her design selection. Her family joined in, as they have been rooting her on for years to pursue her talents in this field.

“My sister has always wanted to see my artwork out in public ever since she saw my first graphic design project in high school,” Berry said. “So, the fact that it’s really happening is almost surreal.”

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