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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Back In Black, Zebra Path Restored

After years of being red and white, the zebra path has finally been painted back to its original colors. (Samantha Burkardt / The Statesman)

The repainting to the original colors started on Tuesday evening, but the desire for the change has lasted for much longer.

“The zebra path is part of our tradition,” said Undergraduate Student Government Sen. Craig R. McCarthy. “Right now, I’m leaving and a lot of students who saw it originally in black and white are going to be leaving. Next year only people in our school will have seen it as red and white and people won’t really understand the history of it.”

McCarthy wrote the resolution that was passed in December to repaint the zebra path after Rian Shah, a student at Stony Brook, came to him for help. Shah is also the creator of the Facebook group “Restore the black and white Zebra Path,” which has almost 600 members.

The path was first created three decades ago by Kim Hardiman during spring break for an art project in Professor Mel Pekarsky’s class. Although she was told the university attempted to contact her, she never knew they were repainting the path, she said.

“It was a shock – they supposedly lost my address,” she said, adding that she found out from a newspaper. “I understand why people did it for the ‘red hot’ anniversary but the initial feeling is you never change an original artist’s painting. It’s like changing Mona Lisa’s smile.”

Campus workers diligently paint the zebra path back to its original colors using tape to make sure they get it right. (Samantha Burkardt / The Statesman)

Hardiman spent a week painting through inclement weather and a truck driving over her work — using kneepads to paint the path.
nted in 2007 for the university’s 50th anniversary.
It was originally painted to have geometric sharp-corned lines, although since the red and white repainting, the lines have become “wiggley,” Pekarsky said.

“That’s not what she did,” he said, explaining that she used a chalk snap line tool to make the lines sharp and into a pattern. “It was an optical effect.”

Hardiman, who is a fan of Shah’s Facebook group, is glad they’ll be changing her work back to what it once was and hopes they pay more attention to her original design, she said.

“I didn’t want to put colors because color affects people,” she said. “Every time you add color it’s going to affect people. Black and white is very neutral and when you think of it, black and white in photography is very strong. If you add color, it takes way the feeling.”

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