As students, alumni and fans of all walks of life flock to Athens for homecoming, the windows of businesses downtown come to life with paintings that inspire the nostalgic, prideful spirit that unites University of Georgia fans.
The UGA homecoming committee orchestrates an annual window painting contest in the spirit of the homecoming season. Student organizations and departments within the school have the opportunity to pair up with downtown businesses to design window art that is specific to each individual business.
Painters begin the process by reaching out to their assigned businesses to conceptualize paintings, have sketches approved, and schedule a time to paint the physical windows. Painters will bring their supplies and their talents and transform the windows by the evening of Oct. 14 during homecoming week, and any necessary clean-up is finished the following week.
These painted windows are a beloved tradition of homecoming week in Athens. Window art will be displayed during the homecoming parade on Friday, Oct. 15. The executive board for the homecoming committee will judge the window art on UGA spirit, representation of the organization, and its overall look.
Karissa Chilcote, community outreach chair for the homecoming committee, said this event’s purpose is to bridge the gap between the campus and Athens businesses. Painting windows is a good way for participants to show their creative side and have fun, said Chilcote.
“A lot of times, we think of UGA as just a campus, and we don’t think about the [businesses] that we affect with our daily lives. It is a good way to let our businesses know our appreciation and to also let them show their UGA support,” Chilcote said.
During the homecoming competition week, student organizations and departments at UGA compose two divisions: the red division and the black division.
Student organizations will compete against other student organizations, while UGA department organizations will compete against other UGA department organizations. There will be two winners, one from each division, at the end of the week.
Divisions compete to gain points based on specific competitions, and can reach a maximum of 2000 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 homecoming parade.
Window art gives points to the competitors 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, assistant director for campus involvement on the homecoming committee, said if organizations miss the opportunity this year, they can apply next year by visiting the UGA homecoming website.
“We have not been able to be around many people this past year, so being able to put something together as an organization and do something in person is really important,” Wohlford said.