If you’ve ever had a class in the art building, you might have noticed that no one is allowed to go up to the second floor.
The second floor of the two-story art building, located in the upper corner of campus near the film school, was condemned a year ago.
Classes that previously took place in the art building have been relocated to other classrooms, often quite far from the art building and the rest of the department.
“Drawing and painting classes are in the Rainbow building,” said graphic design major Steven Waller. “It’s behind the Circle K, next to Pizza Hut. I didn’t even know that was part of the campus. And the 3-D classes are over by Hecht.”
Although rough plans have been made to build a new facility for the art department, nothing is definite.
“I don’t know what the plans are, much less the time frame we’re looking at,” said Dr. Perri Roberts of the art and art history department. “Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows.”
There are currently classroom spaces for all art classes somewhere on campus, but some of those classrooms are very far apart, meaning that the art and art history faculty and administration may not be able to communicate as well as they did when they were closer to each other.
“The art building has character. The balcony is ideal for drawing. But the Rainbow building, besides being far away, is uninspiring. White walls, no windows, fluorescent lighting,” said freshman Angela Wilcox, enrolled in Art 101. “With such a beautiful campus to draw, we need windows.”
“I think it’s a big problem,” Waller said. “We’re spread out all over the place. It’s hard to have a department if there’s no unity in location.”
However, Dr. Roberts says the faculty is coping well with the inconvenience,” he said. “There’s strength in having us in one place, but we can do our jobs separated too.”
Dr. Marian Jefferson, associate chair of the art and art history department, agreed.
“We’d love to have a new building,” she said. “But we understand it could be three or four years. We just don’t know where the funding is.”
“The art department doesn’t appear to have the same funding as other departments. If the University would like to keep the program and attract talented students, it will need to provide better resources, such as an un-condemned building,” said sophomore art student Marc Johnson.
Some art students speculated that the university is currently focusing its attention on aesthetic problems more than education issues, therefore funding is going to things like the new parking garage and landscaping before the art building will be considered.
“The degree of the University’s support is evident from the state of the art department’s buildings and their location at polar opposites of the campus,” said Johnson.
Other students, however, are optimistic about the plans.
“Dr. Shalala seems interested in our problem,” Waller said. “So I have hope that the problem will be fixed.”
In the meantime, classes will remain spread out over the campus, and hopefully students and faculty alike will keep up the good attitude they are showing now.