University Sweeps Urban Art Competition

Jennifer Mayer's "Neural Impulse"
Recent alum Jennifer Mayer's 'Neural Impulse' is featured on an 80-foot multi-screen marquee at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

By Sheila Eppolito

Seven students from Art and Design Department Lecturer Regina Milan’s Design in Motion course have been selected to show their work on New England’s largest urban screen as part of Art on the Marquee, a collaboration between Boston Cyberarts and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

“It’s wonderful to see our students’ skill and success on such a large scale,” says Assoc. Prof. Ellen Wetmore, whose work “Playing With the Moon” will also be featured with that of other art professionals. 

UMass Lowell’s students won seven of 10 slots in the annual student competition — the other winners among hundreds of entries were from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Montserrat College of Art and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

The digital art rotates on an 80-foot, multi-screen LED marquee outside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District. The high-visibility location ensures that hundreds of thousands of Bostonians and convention center visitors experience the works.

The students are all recently graduated seniors, and their works are described here:.

Elena Giurleo, “Shooting Stars”

“As humans, we forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature and rely on screens for entertainment. My work, called ‘Shooting Stars’ uses the large screens to portray a night sky filled with animated shooting stars, and the smaller screens to show a close-up of eyes looking up, with a star animated across them.”

Jennifer Mayer, “Neural Impulse”

“In my work, the tallest panels represent the brain with neurons firing, and lights along them to represent electrical impulses. As the lights reach toward the bottom of the screen, the eyes at the bottom of the panels blink. The smaller panels represent the path of the impulse along individual neurons.”

Patrick Curley, “Ancient Aliens”

“My work incorporates cut paper scanned for animation. First, there are static pyramids, then a UFO flies into the frame, moves around and comes to a stop. As it hovers, it emits a green beam and hieroglyphics scroll. The pyramids then emit beams and eventually, alongside the UFO, disappear, leaving no trace.”

William Holtsberg, “Look Up”

“My piece features stars and the night sky – shooting stars fly around the screen from one panel to the other, eventually falling to Earth, exploding on impact, causing a fireball at the bottom of the screens.”

Isidro Estevez, “Wild Wild World”

“My piece focuses on art, and the idea is to represent the beauty and abundance of nature by using illustrations including patterns of leaves and abstract designs that change color.”

Maria Zavaleta, “You Are What You Eat”

“This graphic animation explores the idea that ‘You are what you eat’—the cascading sprinkles form different molecules found inside a donut. Sugar, water, hydrogen and others fall onto the donut and land on a bed of sprinkles.”

Emily Pacht, “Team Work”

“A ball is dropped onto the first gear, spinning it toward the right and dropping it to the second gear, which moved to the left, passing the ball to the next, and so on, until it falls into the ball pit at the bottom.”

To see the students’ work, go to or visit the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center before June 1.