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Fine Arts students develop animations for the D.C. Metro system

WMATA’s Art in Transit program partnered with alumna Natalie Courtney and current student Darius Scott to highlight HBCUs through animation.

Alumna Natalie Courtney and current student Darius Scott posed in front of their displayed animation. (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

No Free Gas (NFG) partnered with The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to highlight two Howard students who made an animation for homecoming. The animation was created by alumna Natalie Courtney and current student Darius Scott. 

The idea was brought to life by Simone Boseman and NFG (No Free Gas) in collaboration with the WMATA’s Art in Transit program set out to create an animation featuring the aspects of an HBCU homecoming football game, including screaming fans, majorettes, and the band.

No Free Gas was Co-founded by current Howard university student Winter BreeAnne Minisee and Alumna Busayo Ogunbiyi. The creative agency’s mission goes beyond typical agency boundaries, as they craft global campaigns, curate immersive cultural experiences, and ignite innovative creative collaborations. NFG is committed to empowering creative communities within HBCUs and aims to establish a platform that fosters a thriving young Black creative network in Washington DC.

Co-founder of NFG,  Minisee, said that while seated in their kitchen, which overlooks the metro, she and co-founder Ogunbiyi came up with the idea to take over the metro. 

The collaboration between Simone Boseman and NFG (No Free Gas) was created after the co founder Winter BreeAnne Minisee formed a connection with Mrs. Boseman at the premiere of Black Panther in Washington D.C. 

“Simone Boseman funded the project with the hopes of doing more projects with the metro for Black History Month, so we are super honored, humbled, and excited that we were able to build this relationship with the Boseman family,” Minisee stated. 

The design only took two weeks to create. It started off in the hands of Courtney who looked back at old yearbooks and animations in the Howard University Moorland Spingarn Research Center, then headed to Scott for the final touches. Scott stated that this piece represents the joy of homecoming that is shared in the area every year. 

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“This scene celebrates an aspect of Howard and the broader HBCU homecoming culture. From the rhythm of the band to the crowd filling the stands, It’s a tribute to the joy shared every year around the time of the homecoming game,” he said.

Usually, when passengers are on the metro they see the electronic screens change with the season or events that are going on in the area. The transit authority partners with visual and performing artists, other arts professionals, architects, engineers, community organizations and representatives, and jurisdictional arts councils to develop projects and performances that reflect the spirit and vitality of communities served by Metro.

Before Courtney graduated in 2023, she was an electronic studio art student and specialized in animations. She stated that she took everything she learned in fine arts and applied it to this project. 

“I was definitely inspired by the second floor of the College of Fine Arts. If you look at the shape, Alma  Thomas, colors, Louis Mailou Jones, and many more that I took inspiration from. But for style I look at older homecoming cartoons and the yearbooks,” she said. 

Courtney also took specific movements from the band’s halftime show last year and incorporated them into the animation. 

The project will be available to view on the electronic screens at Crystal City, Farragut North, Gallery Place – Chinatown, L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center, NOMA – Gallaudet U for a total of six weeks. 

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Copy edited by Alana Matthew


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