by Julie Lineback

UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the 2020 AJC Peachtree Road Race has been rescheduled to Nov. 26.

For more than half a century, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has remained as much of an Independence Day tradition for Atlantans as cookouts, fireworks and apple pie. And for the past 25 years, artists have competed to have their designs on the shirt worn by 60,000 runners each year.

Alanna LeBlancJoining that elite collective this July 4 could be University of West Georgia student Alanna LeBlanc.

LeBlanc submitted her design, “Street Peach,” as part of John Morris’ Digital Media for Artists class. It is one of five illustrations in the running for this year’s race, which is themed “Moving Forward with Atlanta.” Nearly 200 designs were entered into this year's contest.

She shared she was inspired by the murals of Atlanta, specifically pop art, and local artist Yoyo Ferro and well-known artist Keith Haring served as muses for this piece.

“A large part of what it means to be a native to Atlanta is to be in tune with the cultural arts,” said LeBlanc, who is working toward a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in film. “In our city, street art truly shapes and defines us collectively and individually. It's our shared experience and appreciation of the art we create as a community that unifies us.”

Community is important to LeBlanc, who is from Newnan. She is a leader at Wesley, a campus ministry sponsored by the United Methodist Church for students.

“It's one of the things that brings me the most joy,” LeBlanc shared. “I love investing in the students involved, and being a part of such a reliable and loving community.”

That network extends to faculty members at UWG as well.

Design of a peach that reads AJC Peachtree Road Race Atlanta“When it comes to the long-lasting friends I've made, and the great professors I've had, it means the world,” she said. “I wouldn't have even known about this competition if it weren't for John Morris, I wouldn't have known about Wesley without Clint Samples, and I wouldn't be the writer and thinker I am today without Kevin Casper. They're all very intentional and have the students’ best interests in mind.”

No matter what design crosses the finish line on Independence Day, LeBlanc – who aspires to be a director of photography, screenwriter and director – feels West Georgia is preparing her for a career win.

“During my time at UWG, I've completed the art block, Georgia Film Academy classes and am now moving on to screenwriting,” she concluded. “All of the courses I have taken have made me well-versed in social skills as well as tactical skills for my career paths.”

Posted on April 14, 2020