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The Wilson Housing Authority needed a new sign for its Nash Street office building.
It needed the sign to be fresh, bold and blend in with the changing atmosphere of downtown Wilson while still reflecting who the housing authority is and what it does.
Those were the broad instructions given to a group of graphic design students at Barton College who agreed to take a shot at creating this new look.
What the housing authority got was something totally different from a student artist.
“It was an honor to be picked by the housing authority for this project,” said Crystal Bowers, a Barton College senior who will be graduating in December and is majoring in graphic design and painting.“I was intrigued by the project because they (the housing authority) wanted to put a fresh face to a business that is helping those less fortunate in society.”
Bowers, who is 33 and spent five years serving in the Air Force in Germany before moving to the Goldsboro area and going back to school, said she wanted the outline of houses and different structures to be incorporated into the design.
“The H is supposed to look like a skyscraper or large office building, while the A is a more traditional house,” she said.
“The green reads natural and grassy,” she said. “It brings the urban in with nature. “Overall, I am very pleased with the way it (the sign) turned out.”
So is the housing authority, which provides affordable housing opportunities for more than 1,200 Wilson families through its public housing and housing voucher programs.
“This partnership between the housing authority and Barton has turned out great,” said Kelly Vick, president and CEO of the Wilson Housing Authority. “We had been looking for a new design for the sign for some time, and turning the whole thing over to the graphic design students at the college accomplished what we hoped would happen.”
Susan Fecho, dean of the school of visual, performing and communication arts for Barton College, agreed that the partnership is valuable for both parties.
“It is important for graphic design students to work with clients, to make sure projects are completed to the clients’ satisfaction, to understand the production end of design and to make sure projects are completed on time,” Fecho said.
The sign is not the first piece of public art that Bowers has designed in Wilson.
She was chosen by the city of Wilson to create a mural that would hang on an exterior wall on the back of Imagination Station. The mural, which she calls “Primordial Ooze,” sprawls across a wall just off a small alley called Imagine Alley.
Bowers said the chance to do these relatively high-profile projects has made her realize how much graphic design clicks with her, and she is planning to pursue professional opportunities in the field following graduation.
“I think the new look makes the whole housing authority more appealing,” she said.