New Art Facility in Progress

 Art Facility Plans, photo by Abby Whisler

Art Facility Plans, photo by Abby Whisler

Deconstruction of the Art Barn started early this year, and according to Professor of Art Jeff Morton, the steel, windows, and other materials have been ordered, and construction for the new art facility is expected to begin soon. The faculty is expecting to move into the new facility by August of 2015.

“I think you’re going to like this,” Morton said as he explained that the building will have a “butterfly structure.” There will be two main studios in the building: the 3D ceramic and sculpture studio and the 2D painting and drawing studio. These studios will be connected by faculty offices and a commons area. “A feature I like is … the glass feature connecting the north and south studios,” Morton said. The commons connecting the two studios will incorporate glass structures that bring nature indoors.

he art facility has the unique quality of being off the main plateau of Covenant College, an area often referred to as “lower campus.” With this in mind, the design of the building will diverge from the stucco-walled, mountain-stoned look of the rest of Covenant buildings. “It might not even have the red roof [that other buildings have]” Morton said.

 Professor Morton, photo by Abby Whisler

Professor Morton, photo by Abby Whisler

The texture of the building will incorporate contrasting elements. The front and sides of the building will incorporate anodized steel, glass, and unfinished concrete, among other materials. While the siding may not use wood from the old Art Barn, about nine windows from the Barn will be part of the new structure. The building is designed by Franklin Architects, with the college’s administration and Art Department speaking into the process.

As written in Covenant’s website, “the number of students majoring in art has increased six-fold in the past decade,” and there is a need to cater to the growing number. “There are 70 art students right now,” Morton explained. The Art Barn, though charming, can no longer accommodate the growth of the Art Department. Professor Morton continued to explain that the Art Department requires space. The department is less flexible than other departments; the faculties couldn’t simply teach in normal classrooms. The new art facility will also feature a connectedness between faculty offices and the studios, facilitating faculty members to work on their own art projects. “Here we communicate an important example to our students that the faculty member is a working artist,” said Professor Morton in the college’s website. Through this feature, students will be able to participate alongside faculty members in creating art.

As reported in the college’s website, the new facility will cost about $2,200,000, with an additional $500,000 for maintenance. So far, $1,200,000 has been contributed towards the cost.

The Art Department has proposed that a sculpture be built in front of the new art facility. While this plan hasn’t been set in stone yet, the sculpture might be a kind of public art that makes use of crowd funding.

While the Art Department is excited to welcome the new building, the rest of the Covenant community has good reasons to celebrate alongside the department. Professor Morton hopes that the upcoming art facility will be welcoming and inspiring for the community, and he imagines that other activities could be held there as well.