Durham Academy’s Exurbia to Redecorate Senior Bench for Class of 2019

Photo by sierra brown ‘21

Photo by sierra brown ‘21

Written by Emily Kohn ‘19

Exurbia, DA’s student-run literary and artistic magazine, has been a staple of the Upper School scene for a while, but taking on the senior bench project presents a new artistic challenge. The senior bench, the now-iconic seating in the Upper School quad, is an oversized wooden bench that sits under the large tree, offering a fantastic view of the outdoor lunch tables and a faint outline of the bad parking attempts of student drivers in the parking lot in the distance. And students feel it’s time for a makeover. “I think the idea is just to make it more colorful,” said Luci Jones, a senior and one of Exurbia’s editors. “It’s been just black and boring for a while.”

Exurbia’s editors have created a unique design that allows the entire senior class to participate. The idea is to brighten the space. “The general plan is to crisscross some kind of tape over it to create little triangular sections,” said Jones, “and then to paint within each triangle… a different bright color so when you pull the tape off, you’ll get little colorful abstract-looking triangles.” Senior and co-editor Bella Kim added, “I think it’s special because the design is in a way that everybody can do something on it. It’s not like this huge mural of a face or a portrait or anything like that. It’s pretty simple; it’s just coloring in the lines.”

I think it’s special because the design is in a way that everybody can do something on it.

But under the layers of paint, the Senior Bench project has a deeper meaning. “The bench is such a nice space to do something artistic… and [leave] our mark, because this is really a senior class project,” Jones said. “So, we could dedicate it to the class of 2019 and then the next year, the class of 2020 can do their own thing.” Not only does the project leave a legacy for the next class, but the painting process can create its own memories. The idea is to invite the entire senior class to help paint. “If we get a good amount of people who show up to help, it’s a good bonding experience,” said Jones. Kim added that she is most excited about “just doing it, sitting down and actually having the initiative do the actual painting.”

The project is still in the planning phase, so hold on to those paintbrushes. Over the next few weeks, the Exurbia leaders will work on scheduling and logistics to make sure everything goes smoothly. Explaining the challenges with timing, Kim said, “I mean, if it rains in the middle of us painting, and it’s not yet dry, that’s not good.” Overall, the senior bench project should be time-consuming but a well worth it endeavor. As Jones put it, “[It’s] a lasting mark of people who’ve graduated and what they’ve done.”