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On any given week, you may have glimpsed Snoopy, Chihiro Ogino from Spirited Away, or the Corpse Bride gazing out at you from the doors of 200 and 202 Bay State Road. The brightly painted characters are the work of Daria Lugina (CFA’19, CAS’19), who started the popular installation art project on a whim.
In high school, Lugina volunteered at the local library, where the staff painted the windows in the children’s room with illustrations from picture books, like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She found the process calming and enjoyed watching the children’s reactions when they saw their favorite characters drawn larger than life.
Now a painting and English double major and a computer science minor, Lugina lives in the Trustee Scholars House at 200 Bay State Road. During her first year at BU, the house residents decorated their brownstone for Halloween, and she came up with the idea of painting the door with the title character from the 2005 film Corpse Bride. (She uses acrylic paint mixed with dish soap so the illustrations wash off easily with water.) “We got such a good response from it,” she says, “that I’ve been doing it ever since, about once a month.”
Lugina, who plans to pursue a career in animation or interactive design, takes her inspiration from cartoons and popular culture. She particularly enjoys painting Disney characters—like Rapunzel from Tangled, Lilo and Stitch, and Mickey Mouse—which are also the favorites of her littlest fans.
“A lot of kids come down the street and get excited when they recognize the cartoons,” she says. And while plenty of children go wide-eyed in wonder, “college students are equally excited. I’ve definitely seen people take pictures—and they weren’t always five. It’s a nice way to get art out into the community.”