Brenda Shepard, Staff Writer

Lives changed on Nov. 9, 1989 when people from East and West Berlin were allowed to meet freely once again. The Berlin Wall was not just concrete and wire, but a representation of constraint—Cold War hatred and inequality. Twenty years later, many still remember images of people tearing apart the concrete and shouting for joy.

In celebration of this event, George Mason University students will have the opportunity to participate in a re-creation of the Berlin Wall.

The project, “Freedom without Walls: Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989-2009,” is being presented with the help of many different facets of the university. The German word “Weltanschauung” means “a world outlook”, which was the guiding idea for the wall between East and West Germany to come down.

A replica of the Berlin Wall will be placed under the clock in the Free Speech Zone and students will have the chance to put their own expressions on it. On the anniversary date, Nov. 9, the replica wall will be torn down at 1 p.m.

“Most of our students, especially freshmen and sophomores, were not even born in 1989. Hence the fall of the wall is a distant and possibly remote historical event,” said Marion Deshmukh, an associate professor of history and art history, “By having multiple ‘hands on’ activities, some of which relive these events, students will have a better sense of how momentous it was – not only for Germans, but worldwide.”

With help from the Art, History and Art History Departments, as well as students and staff, the idea has become a reality. The wall re-creation is being spear-headed by the art department. It will be created in four sections and put together underneath the clock tower, where students will have the chance to do their own graffiti and express their own ideas of freedom. Any student “taggers” are invited to create their own unique designs and stencils, keeping with the way the wall looked while it stood.

“We’ll provide the paint and cans and let the students provide the art,” said Walter Kravitz, a professor in the School of Art at Mason. He went on to explain that creators would try to simulate the concrete feeling that the wall had by painting it gray and giving it some texture.

In addition to the replica of the Berlin Wall, there will be a student gala at the Center for the Arts on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m., where music students will play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (more commonly known as “Ode to Joy”) which was played at the Berlin Wall in December 1989 by Leonard Bernstein and the Berlin Philharmonic. Dance students will be choreographing a dance and there will be readings and songs.

On Oct. 26, a student in the art history department is curating a photo exhibit of pictures taken in 1961 by Look Magazine showing the wall’s construction. These are photos from the Library of Congress and will be shown in the Johnson Center’s Patriot Corner. From noon to 1 p.m. on Nov. 9, there will be a “Unity” charity walk open to the public, to raise money and collect food items for a food bank.

Deshmukh is also curating an exhibition at the Goethe-Institut, Germany’s cultural institution in Washington, D.C., called, “Iconoclash: Political Imagery from the Berlin Wall to German Unification.” It will be shown from Nov. 4 through Jan. 8 going along with this celebration.

As such an important piece of our world’s history, this celebration can provide insight into the lives of a people reunited. For more information, visit