Museum, Theatre and Studio Arts Facilities

The Case for a New Studio Art Facility

Art has always played an integral role in the way societies define themselves and are defined by others, but today the ways we create, define and refine art itself are being transformed.

In order to help students explore and grow with that transformation, we envision a new kind of studio art space — large common areas for classes and exhibitions, smaller workshops and studios surrounding those areas, and a new interdisciplinary, digitally based Studio for Trans-media Arts and Related Studies (STARS).

Why create new spaces rather than renovate old ones? There are a number of compelling reasons:

  • An addition to the List Art Center in 1993-94 was the last major facilities upgrade for the studio arts at Hamilton. Otherwise, facilities are 40 years old or more. List has served and changed with a thriving program since 1970, but it is now a labyrinth of split levels, awkwardly proportioned rooms and corridors that double as teaching spaces. Even lighting and ventilation are chronic problems in the building.
  • Instruction at Hamilton is highly personalized, and nowhere is this more true than in the arts. Intensive, one-on-one studio experience in which professors serve as both critics and advocates requires dedicated spaces designed and located with the needs of the discipline in mind.
  • Two faculty artists — Katharine Kuharic, the Kevin Kennedy Associate Professor of Art, and Assistant Professor Rebecca Murtaugh — won top teaching awards at Hamilton in 2009. It is important that we continue to attract and retain accomplished artists who are also extraordinary teachers. State-of-the-art facilities will help us to do that.

Modern studio arts at Hamilton are, above all, interdisciplinary. Students and teachers collaborate across curricular lines to explore new ideas and make new connections. A recent team-taught course on the chemistry of art received national attention. Another course investigated the relationship between art and physics, a third the relationship between art and music.

As old walls between disciplines continue to fall, Hamilton’s student and faculty artists want to be on the front lines of exploration. We can help keep them there with facilities that open the campus to creativity and integrate the arts into the broader curriculum.