If you want renovate a building, talk to the people who use it.
That's what Steve McGuire, head of Studio Arts for the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, did for the new Studio Arts Building. Prepared in only 30 days last summer to replace studios lost to the June floods, the Studio Arts Building is in the location of the old Menard's store at 1375 Highway 1 West in Iowa City.
But turning a big-box retail space into classroom space for art isn't easy.
"When we moved in we recognized that there are some things that can't be done in 30 days," McGuire said. "All of our programs were accommodated, but the space was not as productive as it needed to be, especially for the graduate programs in studio arts."
Knowing the building needed to be improved for the graduate students to achieve their potential, the School of Art and Art History held a "charette" -- a collaborative session to solve a design problem -- with the students, architects and designers.
"We wanted to find out what needed to be in place for the work of the graduate students in studio arts," McGuire said. "The input of the students was critical to the success of the plans for upgrading the facility to make it more suitable for graduate programs. This involved such issues as lighting, layout of space and opportunities for students to see each others' work."
That work has now been completed for the beginning of the second semester. "With these improvements in place, we feel the building will be much more suitable for the studio classes in the arts," McGuire said. "It is very important for us to be attentive to art students' needs so as to be consistent with our standing as one of the top graduate programs in the country."
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500
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