Art Garage provides space for inspiration and collaboration

Art Garage provides space for inspiration and collaboration

The Art and Art History Department celebrated the grand opening of the Art Garage on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Cutting the ribbon is Vagner Whitehead, associate professor of art and chair of the department for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Art Garage is attached to the Police and Support Services building.

After a two-year wait, the Art Garage, the most recent addition to the Art and Art History Department’s space, was unveiled on June 22.


“It’s great to see all the hard work coming together at last and see what the collective effort can achieve in real space and time,” said Vagner Whitehead, associate professor of art and chair of the department for the 2015-2016 academic year.


The garage is the first addition to the department’s space in 11 years and offers state-of-the-art equipment in three distinct areas. The print zone offers an etching press and spray booth; the 3-D digital fabrication zone houses 3-D printers, a scanner, a laser cutter and etcher, and a vacu-form. Traditional wood and metal working tools complete the workshop area.


“To see old and new technology intersect in a new space is very exciting,” said David Lambert, special lecturer in art and one of the main coordinators of the project.


The garage has doors that open to the outdoors, allowing for ventilation and inspiration. All of the equipment is in one 2,000-square-foot space.


Traditional print making was demonstrated at the Art Garage opening. The department added the printing equipment with the renovation. Guests were welcome to take finished prints.

art garage printing

“This is exactly the kind of space that artists should be in and want to be in,” said Kevin J. Corcoran, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The garage is located at the front of the campus, exposing the art program to the campus and community.


The garage made room for equipment to be used effectively. Some of it was previously housed in other classrooms and offices, and some of it is brand new.


“Everything is out, organized and has the needed real estate around each tool to use it effectively and efficiently,” Lambert said.


While there are different areas, the proximity of the equipment allows for artists to easily transition from one medium to the next.


“The space is also pretty malleable,” Lambert said. “The large tables are on casters and can be moved around the change how students interact.”


The tools also have the versatility to be used by all majors in the department. Art history majors can use the 3-D printers to replicate ancient artifacts, while graphic design and studio art majors have various fabrication tools at their fingertips.


Through the garage, the department has already collaborated with other departments on campus. Molecule models were created using the 3-D printer for Evan Trivedi, assistant professor of chemistry. It’s valuable for his students to see the models because drawing complex molecules is difficult. The athletic department is also having donor names etched into tiles that will be installed in the O’rena.


Art Garage services and tools will also be offered for alumni use, and department leaders are looking for more ways to get the community involved.


The department was presented with the space in October 2014, and classes will begin with the fall 2016 semester. Laptops and a projector allow for lectures and presentations. However, Whitehead said it’s best to think of the garage as a lab where students and faculty can work and research. Classes are scheduled for less than half of the available time for the 2016-2017 academic year.


“The goal for the Art Garage is to be a place for making, thinking and learning,” he said.


Students will have access to the garage under faculty or staff supervision Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.