By Jimmy Lichtenwalter
Students and several faculty members from Samford University’s art department moved last week from their previous facilities in Swearingen Hall into the newly constructed Art Lofts. The new space is located on the north side of campus, across from Lena Vail Davis Residence Hall.
A grand opening for the Art Lofts is set for 11 a.m. Nov. 7 during Samford’s annual homecoming weekend.
Birmingham-based Davis Architects completely renovated an old facilities management building, giving art majors a space where they can both work and learn in equal measures. Construction was completed just as the fall semester began.
“This is something we’ve needed for a long time,” said Joseph Cory, associate professor of art. “As a prospective student, when you come and see this space, it really gets you excited about Samford.”
Cory also pointed out the open, airy nature of the two-story facilities, and this will foster a sense of community among the students.
“Our students will be able to look around and see what everyone else is doing and working on,” he said. “There will be a great dialogue between freshmen and the upperclassmen as they see each other’s projects.”
The new lofts include faculty offices, classrooms and studio space for students to work on their various artistic projects. The Lofts house what are often referred to as the “messy” arts, including ceramics, sculpture and painting. There are even individual studio spaces where students can have their own creative space and work on long-term projects.
“This is just a raw space for us to be artsy and messy,” said Merrell McQueen, a senior fine art major from Corinth, Miss. “Now that we have the capacity to do so, I am really excited to see art students making use of these facilities and creating new art.”
The art department continues to have space in Swearingen Hall, but previously did not have great place for its students to simply work on their creative projects. An avid painter, McQueen used to have to construct her canvases in Swearingen Hall and then carry the wooden frame across campus to satellite studio space in Brooks Hall.
“I really got used to lugging canvases all around campus,” she said. “But now I don’t have to do that. I can construct my canvas in the same facility and just take it up to my studio and begin working.”
“We really appreciate the administration supporting projects like this,” said Cory. “These lofts really are a game-changer for our department.”
Jimmy Lichtenwalter is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.