Art department prepares for makeover

Construction on the new Sam Houston State University art building is scheduled to begin in Spring 2018, and the building is expected to open in Fall 2019 or Spring 2020.

The new building will be across Bobby K. Marks opposite the Newton Gresham Library and the University Theater Center and will bring all of the art programs together under the same roof.

“We are very excited that the new building will allow all of our programs to be housed under one roof and [we are] looking forward to the synergy created by interaction between the programs,” Department Chair Michael Henderson said.

Currently, Art Department classes are spread out between eight different buildings, including the SHSU WASH building, which is currently located on Avenue M behind Josey Park off-campus.

The WASH program is a required foundations program for all SHSU art students, and it will have its own studio space on the building’s first floor. Now, WASH students will be able to attend their classes on-campus.

The new building will be four stories high and will boast a new University Art Gallery that Henderson says will be accessible and inviting.

The gallery will be located on the first floor with WASH, alongside a Student Resource Center that will provide equipment that the students and faculty need, a sculpture lab with an outdoor workspace and a ceramics studio that also includes an outdoor space for kilns.

On the second floor, students will have access to graphic design studios and production labs, alongside studios for computer animation students. On the same floor, the animation program will have a production studio and sound recording lab specifically for their students.

On the top floor, the photography program will get a photo studio with professional lighting, a digital darkroom with mural printers and a traditional darkroom equipped for black and white and alternative processes. Also on the top floor, new studio spaces for painting, drawing and printmaking will have indirect natural light provided by large windows on the North side of the building.

There will also be a multipurpose room for Art History and smaller seminar rooms, as well as a computer lab for teaching digital art.  

“The Department of Art is planning for and anticipating growth in Computer Animation, Graphic Design, Art Education, Art History and our Community Engaged courses and programs,” Henderson said. “In addition to the new building, the Department is looking forward to new opportunities to interact with the Community in off-campus programming at our Downtown Satellite Gallery where we have been having exhibitions for the past five years.”

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