Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Art building availability

Studio art at Whitman is both a hobby and an academic discipline, a fact that makes use of the art building and its studios a controversial issue, as some students feel they should have access to said facilities even if they are not art majors or enrolled in art classes.

Shannon Flood 11' works on her tea pot tops for advanced independent study ceramics. Credit: Kendra Klag

The art building currently closes at 10 p.m., but is available to a select number of students via identification card swipe access.

“The building closes at 10, and it is open from 7-10 for students enrolled in art classes. The building is not designed for recreational space for Whitman students, [just as] the science building is not designed for recreational science projects,” said Assistant Professor of Art Michelle Acuff.

Some students feel this is an unfair policy, as it does not provide people who are creatively inclined, yet no art majors, with a place to work and make art.

Other students feel they have sufficient access to workspace, but may not always have the necessary materials.

“I have had trouble finding materials when I come in to do my drawing homework after class, but the studio is usually empty, so I don’t have a problem finding space to work,” said first-year Eli Lewis.

There are currently private studios available for senior art majors to complete their senior theses.

Ryan Creal 12', an Art minor and Art History major, works on a piece for printmaking. Credit: Kendra Klag

“The building was designed to accommodate the work that the seniors will do during their senior year so they are given a private studio during their time,” said Acuff. “To have that at the undergraduate level is rare if you are not at an art school.”

Many students feel that it is difficult to gain access to the buildings and materials if they are not taking art classes.

“I think students here who are not art majors, or simply want to explore some artistic design without taking a class or majoring in the subject would have a very difficult time using the art building. It is very inhospitable to those who have not been indoctrinated into the arts,” said Lewis.

However, according to Acuff, many professors are more than willing to consider independent study projects for students who are seriously interested in the arts.   Acuff is currently working with a recent Whitman graduate on an independent study project related to sculpture.

“There are certainly professors who are willing to work in an independent study fashion, a student could find someone who is working in an established curricular vision of department, which is plenty wide,” said Acuff. “Its not like there is an unwillingness, there is a real excitement to work with students who are serious.”

In addition, some faculty members, such as Acuff, believe it would be beneficial for students to start an art club, so that members of the student body not directly involved in academic arts could gain access to the building in a safe manner.

“I think it would be really nice if students would bond together and start up an art club, and I think there would be no problem. They would be able to use certain space, and not conflict with classes,” said Acuff.

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