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Sep 06, 2013 08:18 AM EDT

Fine Arts Students Dedicate America’s Cup Mural to Fallen Sailor


Students from the Academy of Art University's School of Fine Arts have dedicated a mural to honour Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, the Olympic sailing champion. The 36-year-old British sailor, who sailed for Sweden-based team 'Artemis Racing' tragically died after the team's boat capsized on the Bay May 9 during a practise session for the America's Cup races.

"Bart loved to sail, and he particularly enjoyed his experiences in San Francisco," said Iain Percy, Skipper and Tactician of Artemis Racing, and a great friend of Mr. Simpson. "His family appreciates this beautiful tribute to his life and all that the city has done to honor his life."

Susan Toland, a school's spokesperson, said that the mural was painted on the side of the school's Hayes Street building at 150 Hayes St. near Polk Street. The project started in January and ended in May.

"He passed doing what he loved, and there's no better way to honor him than doing what we love doing every day," student Raquel Lupica said. "When we finally saw it and got all the information it was a lot to take in but it was the most amazing thing I'm sure any of us have done."

The 116-by-50-foot artwork that depicts a sailing scene on the San Francisco Bay - three boats sailing near the Golden Gate Bridge - was created by 18 fine art students.

After Simpson's death, students added a message below the mural that reads, 'In memory of America's Cup sailor Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, Double Olympic Medalist, Artemis Racing.'

"San Francisco will never forget the tragic loss of Mr. Simpson," said Mayor Ed Lee. "We are all saddened by his passing, and hope that this mural dedicated in his honor will provide visitors and residents with a place they can come to celebrate his life."

Elisa Stephens, the university president said that this is the largest mural the university has ever created within San Francisco.

Stephens applauded the group for working 'diligently on this beautiful mural,' and called the project 'an experience that they'll never forget.'

"May 9 is a day I will never forget, being a student here in San Francisco when Mr. Simpson lost his life. I am grateful I had the opportunity to participate in creating this mural in his honor. It is something my classmates and I will remember for the rest of our lives," a Bachelor of Fine Arts student Kristoffer Tamondong Liwanag, said.

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