Jazz and classical music resonated around the close walls of the University Center art gallery as graduate student Lisa Sack spread layer after layer of paint on the newest UTA spirit horse, named Brilliance.
The Spirit Horse project brings a new fiberglass spirit horse each fall to UTA, which a student paints with a custom design.
Sack submitted a design proposal to the university in the spring and started painting in mid-July. Just weeks later, the colorful statue stood watch over the MavsMeet AfterParty on Tuesday as students and faculty stopped to take pictures in front of it.
"It was really cool to look at the sketches and see how I actually stuck to it — exactly what my idea was," she said.
As an online-only student, Sack said she accomplished her goal of becoming plugged in on campus by painting the spirit horse.
During the weeks leading up to the unveiling, Sack estimated she put over 40 hours into the piece.
The statue is decorated with icons that represent the four themes of the UTA 2020 strategic plan: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact and data-driven discovery.
Brilliance will be permanently rehoused outside the UTA Bookstore.
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Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, sits in front of the spirit horse she painted Aug. 15 in the University Center. Sack based her design on the four themes of UTA's 2020 strategic plan.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, paints green leaves on the front of the new spirit horse Aug. 12 in the University Center art gallery. Sack takes all her classes online and works full time, leaving her to paint mostly on the weekends and weekday evenings.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, pours black paint into a smaller container Aug. 10 in the University Center. Sack originally planned to cover her spirit horse in tiles like a mosaic but was glad she didn't because of how time consuming it would have been.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, left, paints the face of the new spirit horse while her husband Frank Sack holds the paint for her to reach Aug. 15 in the University Center. The couple has been married for three years.
Wet and dry paint covers wooden stir sticks Aug. 12 in the University Center art gallery. The university couldn't provide the number of colors that Sack originally requested, so she mixed many of the colors herself.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, adds more color to the new spirit horse Aug. 15 in the University Center. There was another spirit horse planned for this year, but painting has not begun.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, uses her phone to see the top of the new spirit horse while she paints Aug. 12 in the University Center. Sack later brought a stepladder to easier reach taller parts of the horse.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, layers another coat of red paint, creating a heart Aug. 10 in the University Center. The heart represents the Health and Human condition theme of UTA's 2020 Strategic Plan.
The finished spirit horse stands watch at the MavsMeet AfterParty on Aug. 20 on the Central Library mall. The spirit horse will eventually find its home in front of the UTA Bookstore.
Lisa Sack, public administration graduate student, is greeted by President Vistasp Karbhari and his wife Lisa Karbhari during the Mavsmeet Afterparty on Aug. 20 on the Central Library mall. Sack's completed spirit horse was displayed at the event.