The School of Art is integrating the separate sections of the arts program under one roof with the new Center for Visual Arts. It is unifying art students within specialized workrooms and inviting the outside world to take a second glance.
Christine Havice, Director of the School of Art, explained there are a lot of physical requirements that go into the studios.
“Because we have been scattered, we have not been able to use equipment that would be shared across studios,” Havice said.
Havice then explained that the benefits of the new “Fab Lab.”
“One of the great opportunities that we have is the new fabrication lab,” Havice said. “It will have a digital printer, a scanner, a laser jet cutter and a CNC router.”
The new 1,560 square-foot lab will be located on the ground floor. It will first be open to faculty, then open to students.
“The Fab Lab is a key part in what we do and it will compliment, not replicate, what happens in fashion and the textile lab,” said Havice. “And we should, in that way, be able to share various kinds of equipment.”
The newly renovated Center for the Visual Arts will stay wireless, along with housing a new computer lab, workspaces in the halls and flat screen televisions throughout the building.
“Also, in our regular classrooms where we have projection for the Art History courses and Art Education courses, we now have flat screens in those classrooms with various compounds of capacity… They will have access to control the color. So no more discolored sides,” said Havice.
The new technological advances aren’t the only renovations catching the eye of the Kent State community. The architecture allows outsiders the ability to witness the inner workings of the building and studios through an open concept environment.
The wide open windows can be found throughout the ceramic, glass and woodshop studios so observers are able to watch what’s going on inside.
Fine arts major, Casey Engelhart is in one of the few classes that are being taught in the new art building.
“That’s the only down side is with the new building not being finished yet, a lot of the other art departments aren’t over here. So there’s kind of a division between the different art types,” said Engelhart.
Engelhart is a senior with a focus in printmaking. Because of the new building design, Engelhart now has a collective studio where he can work on projects in one open room.
“Everything’s set up accordingly so students can easily move about,” said Engelhart. “And the different departments of printmaking are also divided accordingly.”
Engelhart believes the renovation is also helping to bring together new art ideas by centralizing fellow classmates.
“All the seniors who’ll be graduating have one place where they can all stay and work together. We can collaborate with each other and it has helped unify the print department versus it being so separated like it was before,” Engelhart said.
Unlike Engelhart, sophomore visual communication design major Georgeina Ornelas has not been able to experience the new building directly. But she is still eager to utilize all of its upcoming opportunities.
“I don’t have a class in the new art building right now, but I’m really looking forward to having all of the equipment I need for my projects and homework all in one space,” said Ornelas.
With the design concept aimed at additional space, the Center for the Visual Arts will now have a classroom for the long time coming New Media program.
“Up until now, we’ve had to figure out where can such a person even teach New Media, let alone do research,” said Havice. “So, we are pushing forward plans to make a hirer so that we will have somebody to work with time based media. That’ll be for not only our students but for students all across the campus.”
“Its wonderful that we’ve been able to make use of these separate buildings and adapt them with just a little bit of tweaking for the kinds of things we do,” said Havice. “We are makers and the word for making in Greek is ‘artifice,’ which is where the word ‘art’ comes from. So, the wonderful thing about the realization of the plan has been that the spaces honor that history.”
The Center for the Visual Arts has a completion date of Spring 2016.
Contact Raeanna Hertz at [email protected]