LAST YEAR, STUDIO ART MAJOR Julia Sillen ’14 (Amherst, Mass.) watched through the window of a nearby classroom as construction continued apace on the studio art building. This semester she has her own brand new workspace in that building’s senior studio.

Her desk in the studio, one of several distinctive features of the newly expanded and remodeled building, is crowded with stacks of library books and National Geographic magazines and clippings bound for a collage. Over the course of spring semester, Sillen and 11 other senior studio art majors are assembling their final Macalester project: the senior art show.

The space they’re happily working in today is quite a contrast to the previous building—where seniors would grab any open space they could find in the hallways—and indicative of the thoughtful, intentional way that the project’s plans came together. According to Sillen’s advisor, art professor Ruthann Godollei, faculty and staff members worked together closely with architects to incorporate generous spaces and cutting-edge technology. “This is the best possible building we could have gotten,” Godollei says.

That means flexible spaces that blend studying art and practicing it—and enough room to accommodate professors and art majors and minors, as well as the many other Macalester students enrolled in art classes each year. A 2D design suite on the new third floor is the most technologically advanced space on campus, and the printmaking studio hosts a laser stencil cutter. Updated ventilation systems and the newest safety equipment are incorporated throughout the building.

Although Sillen will spend only a single semester in the new building, she and her classmates have settled in quickly. “I’m already so used to this,” she says, standing in the senior studio next to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Shaw Field. “And it’s going to be great for future art students to have this beautiful space.”

April 29 2014

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