Stanford art practice students, faculty and staff alike are uniting to address the many complaints concerning the lack of undergraduate student studio and storage space in the Cummings Art Building.
A Change.org petition, entitled Studios for the Students, is currently circulating with the goal of building momentum to secure the building for students.
Stanford, along with its technological prominence within Silicon Valley, has been receiving praise from many, including The New York Times, for the significant improvements made in its resources and facilities for the arts.
However, even with this celebrated rise, many problems within the arts programs still need to be addressed including the prevalent problem art practice students face when it comes to finding storage for their materials and projects.
The student and faculty supported petition is one of the many current efforts underway to progress dialogue towards a resolution.
The idea for the online campaign stemmed from a meeting between art department faculty and art practice students, said Maia Paroginog ’16, who spearheaded the petition.
“We were discussing some issues like student needs and one of the biggest issues was creating space to make art, especially when people were enrolled in classes and didn’t have access to classroom space,” Paroginog said.
“There were really no other places to paint and draw, and [there was] no well-ventilated roomy environment,” she added.
Storage is particularly troubling for many art practice students.
Nancy Troy, chair of art and art history department, found that there is insufficient space in the Cummings building for students to store works in progress.
“For example, if you are taking painting and you have a canvas that you are working on, there is no place for us to store that work so that students have access to work on it after class or outside of class,” Troy said.
“This is a very important thing because it means that a classroom is devoted to a single class during a given quarter,” she added.
In terms of tangible solutions on the table, Troy noted that the new $87 million McMurtry Building for the Art and Art History department — set to open in 2015 — will partially address of the space availability problems.
“What McMurtry is going to address are students who are enrolled in art practice courses,” Troy said.
“What the department hopes is that it will be possible to provide space for people who are doing advanced works in the department who are majors or minors to have access to a studio that they would share — to a place where they could work,” she added.
Troy also shared that renovations and changes are being made to the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery; some of its spaces will be relocated to the McMurtry building.
“This will free up some space for which we have multiple demands. And one of them is the need for undergraduates to do independent work,” Troy said.
In the meantime, Paroginog hopes the petition will draw the attention of administrators who will made the final decisions in terms of how space is allotted for art practice students, especially after the end of the quarter and beyond the classroom.
Contact Vincent Cao at vcao2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.