School of Art to Celebrate Grand Opening

Posted: October 19, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: October 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm

By Dave Andrews

School of Art building

School of Art building

Nearly two years after its groundbreaking, the School of Art building will officially celebrate its grand opening and dedication on Friday, Oct. 23.

All are invited to attend the event beginning at 2 p.m. in the Main Gallery. College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Dean Bill Reeder and President Alan Merten, among others, will briefly address the crowd. The keynote speaker will be Dorothy Kosinski, director of The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art located in downtown Washington, D.C.

The new three-story building houses all of the art and visual technology studio instructional areas. The design includes art studio spaces, galleries, computer classrooms, faculty offices and general education classrooms. The design also incorporates an exterior sculpture courtyard and outdoor working areas.

With the added studio spaces, shops and lecture classrooms, the School of Art doubles the size of previous facilities available to Mason students and faculty in the arts. The Fine Arts Building was originally built to house 100 majors; the new School of Art building makes room for 400 majors.

“The new School of Art will further allow our students and faculty to do their work in a collaborative nature,” says Brian Marcus, associate dean for development in CVPA. “It’s a reflection of where the art disciplines at Mason are moving and how our faculty is gravitating to this interdisciplinary collaborative nature of work.”

Marcus anticipates the new facility will help build stronger relationships between Mason and the City of Fairfax. The added space affords Mason room to exhibit more local art, and the city has agreed to periodically display student art as well.

“We envision enrollment numbers of art students to grow now that we have a top-notch facility to showcase. The building itself is an important recruiting tool,” Marcus says. “By continuing to attract some of the most talented art students from around the country, we will also grow in program quality.”

The building was designed by Ayres Saint Gross, a Baltimore, Md.-based architecture firm specializing in campus planning and university facility design. The $32 million, 88,000-square-foot building received a top award in the category of new campus designs from the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu