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 Tuesday, October 14, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Visual Arts Complex a gateway to the arts
by Melanie O. Massengale

In regard to the upcoming groundbreaking for the Visual Arts Complex (VAC), Garrison Roots, CU Art and Art History chair said, “This is the fun part after so much work. The opening of the Visual Arts Complex is one the biggest things to happen to the arts in the state of Colorado and the West – ever.” A celebration of the state-of-the-art facility is tentatively scheduled for February 23, 2009. Museum staff are working with the CU Foundation as well as Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson and planning is ongoing.

Student support was critical to the effort to realize this state-of-the-art facility, according to CU Art Museum (CUAM) Director Lisa Tamiris Becker. “The idea for building improvements for the arts at CU-Boulder has a very long history, but momentum to get this project off the ground really came from students,” she said. “UCSU stepped forward to say that they felt very strongly about going forward with the VAC and they included it in their fees.”

Construction of the VAC is well underway, with the area formerly occupied by Sibell Wolle Fine Arts east of the UMC now a large crater inhabited by earthmovers and a rapidly rising concrete foundation. The VAC is a two-building design connected by a third floor breezeway and pedestrian mall. The west building will serve as a studio and the east building will comprise the CU Art Museum. The museum will house its permanent collection of over 5,000 works of art and will include two permanent collection galleries and two changing exhibition galleries. Public art as well as student art will be featured in the buildings, thanks to the State of Colorado. A mockup of the facility will be finished at the end of November, and completion of the VAC is tentatively set for December 2009.

Naming opportunities are being offered in each building, according to Becker. The naming of a graduate studio costs $25,000, a faculty studio is $50,000 and the prices range according to the type of classroom or gallery. Becker said that the entire complex is being offered for naming. A studio has already been named for late CU sculptor and Art and Art History Associate Professor Antonette Rosato and the lobby was recently dedicated to Becker. Donations of all sizes are welcome.

“The VAC is the administration’s way of saying that they support the arts on campus,” Roots said. “At 180,000 square feet, the VAC is one of the largest art facilities being built in the country.” The location is one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate on campus because of its central location, according to Roots, but the art department has always been there. Up to 10,000 students per day may travel on the walkway between the buildings. “We think of the VAC sidewalk as a new entrance, a gateway to campus,” Becker said.

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