A New Canvas
Kent State University invited the community to celebrate the launch of the Center for the Visual Arts on Oct. 9. The event, which was free and open to the public, took place on the second floor of Cartwright Hall, overlooking the center’s construction site, east of Terrace Drive.
Kent State President Beverly Warren and John Crawford, dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts, spoke at the event, along with students, alumni and donors. The construction plans and renderings were available for viewing. All guests also had the opportunity to participate in a collective work of art that incorporates individual hopes and aspirations for the new center.
The center will be the new home for the School of Art at Kent State and will include the renovation of two existing buildings – Van Deusen Hall and the Art Annex/former Heating Plant. Both buildings will be connected through new construction. The new center will bring all visual arts programs and disciplines under one roof for the first time since 1960. It also will place the school’s galleries, studios and classrooms in one central location. Transparent walls in the studios will highlight the center’s 24/7 activity.
“This state-of-the-art building for the visual arts will have an indelible, positive impact on all of our art students, and will further the College of the Arts’ commitment to providing an enriching arts experience for everyone studying at Kent State,” Crawford said.
The $33.5 million facility has more than 115,000 square-feet of space – which includes 77,000 square feet of renovation and nearly 38,000 square feet of new construction – and is scheduled for completion by spring 2016. It will be LEED Silver-certified for efficiency and sustainability and will provide high-tech workspaces as well as state-of-the-art equipment for students and faculty. The central lobby will provide access to the school’s main gallery and two student galleries. Informal spaces for students to relax and study will be featured in the center, along with hallway seating and charging stations. Studios for after-school and weekend art classes for children in the community are a part of the design.
Kent State’s School of Art offers the only Master of Fine Arts degree in the Visual Arts in Northeast Ohio and has one of the broadest arrays of disciplinary majors and minors in the state. Since 1969, it has been an accredited school by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The new center is a part of the “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future” initiative, which involves the construction of new buildings, facility upgrades and establishment of dynamic, new spaces. The goal of this initiative is to create the most outstanding academic experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community enriched by the university.