Paint the Bridge FAQs

Sign Up For Paint the Bridge

NOTE: Sign ups for Paint the Bridge close today, September 25th, 2019, at 3:00 PM. If your group is interested in claiming a panel after the form closes, you are considered a waitlist group and may show up to the east bridgehead of the Washington Avenue Bridge on Friday, September 27th, 2019 between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM for a chance to claim a panel. Panels are distributed to waitlist groups on a first come, first served basis and there is no guarantee that a panel will become available.

The annual Paint the Bridge event occurs in early fall semester. Paint the Bridge gives student groups the opportunity to generate awareness for their group on campus to thousands of students throughout the year, paint artwork that creates a sense of belonging, and build community through art and creativity. When painted, the 648 panels represent the amazing diversity of students and student groups on this campus. All levels of skill are welcome at Paint the Bridge!

General Information

What is Paint the Bridge?

Paint the Bridge is an annual event hosted by Student Unions & Activities. It is an opportunity for groups to create community by painting artwork along the interior of the pedestrian walkway on the Washington Ave Bridge. The panels serve as a platform to bring awareness to each group's activities and to promote their group/department to students. The artwork on the panel is designed and painted by the members and officers of the group.

The event will take place on Thursday and Friday, September 26 and 27 on the pedestrian level of the Washington Avenue Bridge. Please review the 2019 event schedule for both days below.

2019 Event Schedule

Thursday, September 26: Check-In Day

  • Check-In: Check-in and panel selection for groups who reserved a panel ahead of time begins on this day at 8:30 am. Panels are chosen by groups on a first come, first served basis.
  • Claim your panel: As listed on this page, groups that reserved a panel early must claim their panel by 4:30 pm on this day. Panels left unclaimed will be given away on a first come, first served basis at 8:00 am on Friday, September 27.

Friday, September 27: Painting Day

  • Groups will have a twelve-hour time period to paint, beginning at 8:00 am and ending at 8:00 pm on Friday, September 27. All paint must be at a collection table by 8:00 pm, and no paint or paint supplies are allowed to remain on the bridge after 8:00 pm.
  • Painting panels is only allowed on Friday, September 27.
  • All panels must include the official name and contact information for your group. Not complying with this policy may result in panel removal.
  • Groups that no longer wish to paint their panel must forfeit the panel to Student Unions and Activities at the Information Table in the center of the bridge. Groups may not give their panels away to other student groups.
  • Groups that have not begun painting their panel by 6:30 pm will forfeit the panel to Student Unions and Activities and will not be allowed to paint.

Celebrate the Bridge: Friday, September 27

Campus community members are invited to Celebrate the Bridge on Friday, September 27 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM to celebrate the beautiful art on the bridge and to highlight student group involvement opportunities. The event is open to all campus community members and food and entertainment will be provided. Invite your members to celebrate the bridge’s artwork and get to know other groups on the bridge.

Who is able to participate?

Currently registered student groups and University departments are able to paint bridge panels. Groups must have submitted their registration for the 2019-2020 academic year by the time of the event in order to participate.

Do I have to pay for this event?

No, participation is free for registered student groups and University departments.


Where and when can I sign up to get a panel to paint?

Signups for Paint the Bridge open on August 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm. The signup form will appear as a link at the top of this page.

Do I need to re-register my student group first?

Paint the Bridge is for currently registered student groups. Groups do not need to re-register to sign up for Paint the Bridge, but will need to have submitted their re-registration for the 2019-2020 academic year to participate.

How do I know if my group signed up?

Upon sign up, a confirmation email is sent to the main and secondary email addresses that were entered on the sign up form. Contact to verify if your group is signed up.

What is the deadline for signing up?

The signups are open until a week before the event. However, signups are first-come, first-served and often fill quickly.

At the Event

When does check-in begin?

Check-in for groups who signed up before the event will begin at 8:30 am on Thursday, September 26. Since panels are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis you may arrive as early as you would like and wait in line before check in begins.

How long do I have to check-in?

All currently registered student groups and University departments who signed up before the event have until 4:30 pm on Thursday, September 26, to claim their panel. Any panels that are unclaimed by 4:30 pm on Thursday, September 26 will be considered forfeit and made available to any currently registered student groups and University departments on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:00 am on Friday, September 27.

Can I check-in to claim my panel and/or paint my panel after designated times?

Painting is allowed on Friday, September 27 starting at 8:00 am and must stop by 8:00 pm. Also, any panels that have not had the design/painting process started by 6:30 pm on Friday, September 27 will be considered to be forfeited panels by Student Unions & Activities and may not be painted by the group.

Will my group have access to an electrical outlet?

Access to electricity is limited and may be denied based on outside factors (such as weather). Groups will be notified at check-in if conditions will not allow electricity use. Event staff reserves the right to stop electricity use at any time to ensure the safety of participants and pedestrians. Should groups wish to use an overhead projector, groups must supply their own projector and extension cords. In the past, it has not been possible for all organizations wishing to use electricity to do so due to limited resources.

What will SUA provide?

Student Unions & Activities will provide the following items: paint (maroon, gold, red, black, white, green, blue, brown), and foam brushes (1”, 2”, 3”, 4”). Panels are just over 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall.

When do I have to clean-up?

Clean-up must begin by 7:30 p.m. and must be completed by 8:00 pm. Supplies used for painting must be disposed of or removed from the bridge by 8:00 pm. Groups who fail to comply with this guideline may be ineligible for panels in future years.

What is required on the panel?

All painted panel(s) must prominently display the following:

  • Name of registered student group or University department
  • Contact information

What if I want to have the Block M, Goldy or any other University related logos on my panel?

Student group(s) using any University and/or University Department(s) logo(s) must have prior written approval. For further information regarding the use of University and/or University Department(s) logo(s), please refer to the Student Unions & Activities Student Group website.

What other guidelines is there for Paint the Bridge?

Participant(s) can only paint on their assigned panel.

  • Any participant(s) painting on unassigned panel will have their work(s) removed.
  • No spray paint is allowed.
  • All panels must be painted. No posters or signs may be adhered or attached to panels.
  • Groups that have not begun painting their panel by 6:30 pm on Friday, September 27 will forfeit the panel to Student Unions and Activities and will not be allowed to paint.

Any costs associated with paint clean up that can be connected to a registered student group will be charged to the registered student group.

What if I have a concern about a group and what they are doing at the event?

All participants of Paint the Bridge are governed by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy, the Student Conduct Code, the Student Unions & Activities Student Group Policies, and the guideline(s) for Paint the Bridge (see below):

  • Any organization(s) in violation of this policy may have their work(s) removed.
  • Any organization(s) in violation of this policy may be banned from participating in this event for the academic year in which the offense was committed.

If you have concerns about a group’s panel, what they are doing at the event, or information about vandalism or graffiti to any group’s panel, you can submit any incident(s) through the Incident Report Form. If the incident involves conduct by a student group, the review process will follow Student Group Conduct procedures. Conduct by individual students will be reported to the Office for Community Standards. Groups or individuals responsible for vandalism or graffiti may have to pay the cost of restoring panels or property.

Best Practices

What if our group wanted to partner with another student group/department?

Your student group is encouraged to partner and work with other groups. Your groups are allowed to use and combine your panels together to create one image if you so choose.

What should our group paint?

These panels are an opportunity to represent your group and to attract new members to your organization. Make sure to showcase what your group is about, how students are able to get involved, as well as understand that these panels are in a public location and to consider the message you are trying to send.

What should I bring to paint my panel?

We recommend that groups consider bringing the following items: stencils, masking tape, knee pads, paper towels, specialized paint brushes (if the provided foam brushes are not suitable for the group’s project), additional paint (if the paint provided is not suitable for the group’s project).

How should I dispose of my supplies?

There will be paint disposal tables located throughout the bridge. Please put any remaining cups of paint on those tables for other groups to use, or dispose of paint in the white buckets located at those tables. Cups, brushes, paper towels, or any supply that has paint on it should be thrown away in the large blue trash containers.

What if I notice vandalism or graffiti on the panel(s)?

If your group's panel is vandalized or is covered by graffiti during or after the event, your group should contact the Student Activities Office ( with a photograph of the panel and we will help determine next steps. We will work with your group to repair your panel or repaint.