Art Department Reworks Current Space

The renovations to the fine arts building in the past couple of years haven’t exactly been secret, but many students didn’t quite know what was happening when a drawing class took over the upper lounge area of the BTS in fall 2011.

Some students may remember the odd-looking benches circled around an assortment of glass bottles, leather shoes and ceramic bowls, posing for a still-life sketch. All art classes for the fine arts building had to be repositioned; the building was under full renovation.

Class space is tight at Cedarville. For the art, design and theatre department, space has been especially tight. Art classes are held in over five different buildings. Although they own the fine arts building, it is the farthest class building away from campus, halfway between the downtown coffee shops and Faith Hall. Thankfully, recent renovations in the fine arts building (renamed the Carnegie Center for the Visual Arts) and Alford Auditorium have given art students much needed space, air conditioning and light.

Just two years ago, the fine arts building was in major disrepair. The building had poor heating, no air conditioning, narrow staircases and crowded, claustrophobic classrooms. Terry Chamberlain, chair of the department of art, design and theatre, said it was like working in a third-world country.

“The carpets were tattered,” he said. “The staircases were inadequate … we were operating under some either close-to-violations or in pure-violations. It was not a safe place to work.”

Seniors Amanda Lawler and Kadie Wisniewski said they remember sitting in the basement wearing parkas, hats and gloves while trying to draw. Warmer months were hot and airless; the windows were painted shut.

When renovations started in summer 2011, major flaws in the roof and foundations were discovered, leading the department to allow a complete renovation of the fine arts building. The basement floors were jackhammered up, most of the fourth floor was taken out, and the heating, electricity, and plumbing were redone. Studio space was cleared in the basement for upper level art students, and two new student lounges were added. Renovations to the fine arts building were complete by fall 2012.

Now Chamberlain said he enjoys coming to work every day.

Professor Terry Chamberlain said students have been spending a lot more time in the art building and that he has seen great improvement in student work thanks to the renovations. | Photo From: Rose Havard

“I’m finding now students spend a lot more time in the building,” he said. “They are anxious to spend time here. I’m seeing a tremendous improvement in the student work, just because there’s that space. You can’t work in a claustrophobic space.”

The back of Alford Auditorium was also renovated to accommodate studios such as ceramics, 3D sculpture and printmaking. Classes just started in the Alford building in spring 2013.

Rose Havard is a TPC major and arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. She loves fish, lady bugs, writing, abandoned silos, the countryside, snow and jumping into large amounts of cold water. She thinks writing is, among other things, therapeutic and the best way to say everything you want without being interrupted.

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