Graffiti Artists Welcome at USF’s Berlin Wall Replica

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2009) – To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a replica of the Berlin Wall will be rolled out in front of the University of South Florida Marshall Student Center each day between Nov. 2 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to be spray painted with graffiti and transformed into a monument to free expression. 


Photos will be taken and the best graffiti artist will win a prize at the end of the week.


USF is one of 29 colleges and universities in the United States hosting special commemorations of the historic fall of the Berlin Wall as part of Germany’s Freedom Without Walls celebration. The large panels on display at the Tampa campus will serve as reminders of a period in history that is still fresh in some minds and a footnote in history textbooks for others.


“When the Berlin Wall fell, it had tremendous meaning for people throughout the world,” said Margit Grieb, the principal mover and shaker behind USF’s participation. “Many of us are remembering that time and the majority of students are learning what it meant then and what it means to the world we live in today.”


The associate professor of German in the Department of World Languages is quite gratified with the reception the month-long celebration has received so far. At the Freedom Without Walls Gala held on Oct. 21, Grieb welcomed a diverse group of guests including many with German backgrounds, among them Norma Henning, Honorary Consul to the German Embassy in Miami, Elliott Wagner, president of the German American Society of Pinellas County and his wife Sigrun, Bernd and Edna Boniec, from Zephyr Hills, Ingeborg and Britta Herdegen, from Sarasota and Susanne Nielsen, hostess of the German Radio Show ( on WTIS 1110 AM.


“We had a wonderful turnout with over 150 guests,” she said.  “And it was truly a community event in addition to our students and faculty.”   


Highlights of the gala included a speech by German author Holger Teschke which will be posted on You Tube along with a presentation of the winning entries in the Freedom of Expression contest. USF student Dolores Presutto won a first prize of $100, Selena Razack took home the $50 second prize and Cristina Calero earned an honorable mention.


The Freedom Without Walls celebration concludes with a screening of The Lives of Others (2006, dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck) Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater. (Contact Anthony LaPorte for more information: 


All events have been generously supported by the German Embassy in Washington DC, the USF College of Arts and Sciences, the USF Department of World Languages, the USF Humanities Institute and the USF German Culture Club.


The University of South Florida System is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The system offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. It has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.