Art department transitions to new home
Despite the challenges of moving to a new space, art department instructors are working to make the best of the situation, said full-time art instructor Lynn Johnson.
The art department has temporarily moved to the N building, said Johnson. The department was given three connected classrooms and an office area, she said. There is no place for a student gallery at this time. The space will have to be renovated in the future, so a new space will have to be found at that time, said Johnson.
“It’s really hard. The portables were hideous, but they had been functioning so well for 15 years,” said Johnson.
The art department was forced to move from their portables after some fire safety concerns were identified last term, said Johnson. The art department had been in the portables for 15 years.
The art department has been looking for a permanent space for quite some time, said Johnson.
“Ideally, we would love to be in a building built for fine arts, such as a fine arts complex,” said Johnson.
Though the space is not ideal, the art department is pleased to be able to offer classes on main campus, said Johnson.
“We are really glad they aren’t closing down the department. They’re really trying to find us some alternative and some way of existing,” said Johnson.
A major concern of the department is the location. The N building is far away from the CHSS and Arts and Sciences classes, which may dissuade students from taking art classes, said Johnson. The distance could cause a drop in enrollment, she said.
“Many of our students take classes as electives and may not want to come this far,” said Johnson.
With a recent change of UNM’s art program curriculum, many art students were forced to transfer early, said Johnson. This caused the art department to lose several years’ worth of graduates, said Johnson.
“It makes our program look unsuccessful,” said Johnson.
There is also some concern about having the classrooms share a sink, but the department plans to separate the space with a row of lockers, said Johnson. This will allow classes that need the sink to use it without disturbing another class, she said.
The department is excited to have a courtyard, which will help with ventilation needs, said Johnson.
“It will be our woodshop and spray booth,” said Johnson.
The art department instructors gave up their breaks to insure the classrooms would be ready for the start of the summer term, said Erika Volkers, associate dean of CHSS.
“I’d particularly like to recognize the tremendous work that was done by Linda Slater and Lynn Johnson. They have worked tirelessly over the break to ensure that the new rooms are set up for the beginning of summer term,” said Volkers in an email.