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Painting studios adjust to interim space in former church



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Andy Bullard, a master's of fine arts student, has his studio decorated with his art. His studio is located in the warehouse on the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and 13th Street. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

IU’s painting students are facing relocation for the second time in two years — this time due to the construction of a parking garage. 

A new parking garage is replacing the printmaking and ceramics building located at the corner of 11th Street and Walnut Grove, forcing these two departments into the painting studio space.

Because of their weight, the presses and kilns can only be held in a basement. The only basement available was where the painting studios are currently located, said Caleb Weintraub, associate professor in the painting program.

Weintraub said the studios will move into an interim space after Thanksgiving break. 

They will temporarily set up their studios in the old church located off of State Road 46, across from Andy Mohr Field, where the Marching Hundred used to practice. A new structure will be added adjacent to the Fine Arts Studio Building on the corner of 13th Street and Woodlawn Avenue for the program in time for fall classes.

The painting department was originally told it had until summer 2018 to move, Weintraub said.

In fall 2015, the Morgan Hall painting building was demolished for the construction of Luddy Hall, the new informatics building. The painting studios were moved to the old IU Press warehouse. 

“That move was pretty traumatic,” IU senior Katie Robertson said.

Robertson said she is graduating in December with a bachelor’s of fine arts in studio art with a focus in painting. She said she is going to work as a painter in Bloomington for a while before possibly attending graduate school. 

“Moving studios is not just picking up an easel and moving it somewhere else,” Robertson said.

Painters must get adjusted to their studios once all the equipment is finally moved.

There are currently 13 graduate students and 10 undergraduate students in the painting program. They all have studios in the building. 

Annabelle Schafer, a senior in the painting program, said the studio is very important to the work the painters are doing.

"I paint from what is around me, the presence and absence of people, things, nature," Schafer said.

He said they were informed about a month ago that the schedule had changed because the plumbing needed to be redone and the ground dug up at the current painting studios to keep fall classes on schedule. This placed them in the interim space. 

"Since I am graduating in December of 2018 this new building is causing me to move twice," Schafer said.

Robertson said the move will affect graduate students the most because they put together a thesis gallery at the end of the year and moving their work will disrupt the process.

“That’s kind of where our concern is,” Robertson said. 

Weintraub said people did not know the spaces were shifting, so many students accepted IU’s offer to attend the graduate painting program expecting the normal routine. He said the painting area looked for solutions to compensate for the move for graduate students, and the program is offering a third year to the students who will be affected. The extra year will not be expense-free but will offer students funding to offset some of the expense. 

"That took care of the first of my concerns," Weintraub said.

He said he feared the adjustment would potentially prevent students from doing their best work in the normal two years, so he wanted the students to have the option of an extra year. 

“It wouldn’t really be fair or conducive to finishing a good body of work,” Weintraub said.

He said the interim space looked like a challenge to get into shape because the church has been sitting empty since the beginning of the semester and experienced flooding last year. He said because of this, they were concerned about allergens and mold that would potentially affect students’ health.

"I think the most upsetting part of this move would be the distance our professors and faculty will be from our studios," Schafer said.

Robertson said School of Art, Architecture and Design Dean Peg Faimon has met with them often and is working with the students to make the interim space as accommodating of their needs as possible. She said the dean assured them the health concerns from the mold and dust are being investigated before they move in. 

"Although we would much rather stay in our studios until the new building is completed, the dean has worked with us in finding ways to make these temporary studios fitting to our individual needs," Schafer said.

Weintraub said he does not know if the ending is entirely happy yet, but progress has been made since the initial upset. 

"We recognized that no one was going to speak up for us and that we could not be relocated to an abandoned church with little to no thought from the school," Schafer said.

Robertson said they had not received some of the minor things they were told they would get, such as lighting in the parking lot and doors for their studios leading up to this, so the move was initially very upsetting. She said the only thing they can do now is make the best of it.

“We just want to see that the school really does appreciate fine arts,” Robertson said.


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