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Robots Designed by FSU Student Popping Up in Frostburg

Robots Designed by FSU Student Popping Up in Frostburg
Eric Groff

Visitors to downtown Frostburg will be able to spot a series of miniature robots created by a senior Frostburg State University Art & Design major.

Eric Groff of Jefferson designed three robots applied to brick walls on Main Street businesses to give visitors a little treat when they stroll through town. The robots were unveiled Wednesday, Dec. 16. Each robot is designed as an ode to the business where they appear.

The robot at a Place to Eat, 30 W. Main St., sports a sombrero and poncho as a nod to the restaurant’s Tex-Mex food. The Main Street Books robot, at 2 E. Main St., is toting reading material. And the robot at Zen-Shi Sushi Bar and Grill, 104 E. Main St., is a robot sushi chef holding chopsticks and a sushi roll.

“I’ve always been a science fiction fan,” Groff said. “I thought incorporating robots in a way that the public could relate to through a 1950s design could put my interest out there and at the same time, create something the public would like.”

Groff had painted the robots, then scanned the paintings and sent them to a company that printed the robots on a heat-applied material, similar to the vinyl wraps applied to cars.

The robots are the second in a series of public art projects designed by FSU students working in cooperation with the City of Frostburg, FSU and FrostburgFirst – the city’s Main Street Maryland program. The first, a mural at 19 S. Broadway painted by student Parris Ashley of Frostburg, was unveiled in October. Literature-themed art designed by student Shea Crumbley of Cumberland is expected to appear on the Frostburg Public Library’s brick columns in the spring.

Students designed, budgeted and proposed the art projects to city officials for approval. In Groff’s case, he had to earn approval from businesses and landlords, too.

”Most towns do much better when they have a public arts initiative,” said FSU Assistant Professor Jamison Odone. “When people can go to the town to specifically see the art, it’s adding another level to the destination that is Frostburg.”

The robots are expected to be displayed in Frostburg for the next two years. Groff is happy FSU and Odone showed him how he can be an entrepreneurial artist.

“Frostburg has definitely showed me the real-world applications to my art, where I can take it to make a living off of it and where other people can benefit from it,” Groff said.

For more information about FSU’s Department of Visual Arts, visit


For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589