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The Sneaker Man

Josef Kristofoletti (CFA’07) paints a large sneaker mural on the third floor of the FitRec Center

Josef Kristofoletti (CFA’07) painting a large sneaker mural on the third floor of the FitRec Center. Photo by Gillian Wach (COM’09)

Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center received a striking touch-up earlier this week, when Josef Kristofoletti (CFA’07) painted a large mural of sneakers on a wall overlooking the third-floor track. “Henceforth, I will be known on campus as the Sneaker Man,” says Kristofoletti.

The colorful 24-foot-by-9-foot mural, called Sneaker Mountain, is a welcome addition to the FitRec Center, says Warin Dexter, executive director of the department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. “It’s fun and whimsical,” he says, “and it’s already generated a tremendous response.”

Kristofoletti, a graduate of the M.F.A. program, came up with the idea for a mural at FitRec as a student in the course Site-Specific Art, taught by Hugh O’Donnell, a College of Fine Arts professor of painting. “I’ve always admired the architecture of the FitRec Center,” Kristofoletti says, “but the thing that struck me most was that there were so many white walls. I see this building as a blank canvas.”

Arriving at 6 a.m. each day, Kristofoletti worked 10-to-12-hour shifts for an entire week, painting amid walkers and runners, who frequently yelled words of encouragement as they passed. “I get into a zone,” he says. “Basically, I just want to finish what I started.”

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.