Author: Kelsey Contouris
Itâ€™s gray. Dreary. Dull.
From the outside, that is.
The Visual Arts building may not appear to be the ideal place for fostering imagination, but the inside tells a different story. Just walking through the main stretch of the building, youâ€™ll find an impressive array of artwork on display â€“ drawings, paintings, sculptures, pottery, photography, you name it.
Constructed in 1974, Visual Arts stands on the south side of Pitkin Street across from Braiden Hall. The sprawling complex is home to a number of classrooms, studios and workshops where students can build and master their artistic skills. Having enjoyed art classes in high school, I was particularly excited for this weekâ€™s exploration.
I entered the building through the west doors as several other students were making their way to 8 a.m. classes. Again realizing that I would look like a strange tourist for taking pictures in front of everyone, I cut into a hallway off to my right until traffic died down. It wasnâ€™t the most spectacular first impression â€“ just a bunch of lockers, offices and some studios. It actually reminded me very much of the art hallway in the high school I attended freshman year.
This thought struck me again as I toured other parts of the building â€“ the slanted skylights, exposed pipes zigzagging across the ceiling, quaint courtyards outside and numerous projects lining the walls were all eerily familiar. If my high schoolâ€™s art department were to take over the rest of the building, this is what it would look like.
As I made my way down the main corridor, I noticed a sign directing students to room F113, which, oddly enough, is where one of my journalism classes will be next semester. I followed the signs past some more offices and classrooms only to find an average-sized lecture hall, pointlessly far away from the rest of my classes next semester. At least I can look forward to admiring some of the artwork while Iâ€™m in the building.
I continued down the main stretch, snapping photos of some paintings and pottery. I passed a small counter called the Sova Cafe, which advertised bagels, cookies, coffee and more. I imagined what the place must look like on a normal afternoon â€“ students hanging out on the hallway benches or lounging in the courtyards outside, probably drawing in sketchbooks as they have lunch. Being an art student in this building must be pretty nice.
I eventually came to another entrance area facing Pitkin Street. An old, red telephone booth stood by the doors, as well as a wiry sculpture of a human body. As I kept walking down the hall, I saw a few weathered pieces of art equipment and more projects filling display cases. I came to the east doors and turned right into a hallway containing more drawings, lockers and studios. I was amazed at how tall the studio doors were â€“ they practically went up to the ceiling!
After I took a few more photos, my exploration was over. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a vibrant, artsy environment inside that cold, gray brick exterior. If you have time to check out the visual arts building, or if you end up with a miscellaneous lecture there, Iâ€™m sure you wonâ€™t be disappointed with what you see.