Art and new media students soon will have a new center for creativity and innovative thinking.
In November the University of Maine will complete renovations to Stewart Commons, a former dining facility, to house the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center with the Art Department’s studio and creative lab space and the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC) which has dedicated facilities for the New Media Department.
Featuring a suite of studios for painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and design, the Wyeth Center will include the Vincent Hartgen Drawing Studio, dedicated to legendary UMaine Art Professor Vincent Hartgen who founded UMaine’s Art Department and who had a resounding impact on students and the statewide arts community.
The IMRC will house facilities for training, research, development, and commercialization, such as a fabrication studio, electronics lab, and high performance computer cluster that supports video and audio production, animation, 3D design, and prototype production.
Complementing the facilities in Lord Hall and the Sculpture and Ceramics building, the Wyeth family Studio Art Center allows the Department of Art’s most two dimensional media to be housed under one roof. Meanwhile the IMRC allows students from the New Media Department and the Intermedia MFA Program to access cutting edge digital tools and technologies.
The new building, which opens late this fall, will be a huge boon to both students and faculty.
“The new environment opens up incredible opportunities for teaching and learning across the creative experience, allowing students to find and express their own artistic vision in up-to-date facilities,” said Art Department Chair Michael Grillo. “In addition to creating another cultural center for the University of Maine, it sends a clear message about the university’s staunch commitment to the fine arts, recognizes students for the seriousness of their endeavors, and allows us to spread our wings as one of the top-notch art programs in the country.”
Dr. Owen F. Smith, Correll Professor of New Media, said the IMRC “is designed as a living, working building that strengthens our community of scholars and artists and that supports a creative culture in which students are experimenting, interacting, and learning 24 hours a day. Although Vincent Hartgen retired before New Media became a field of study here, he would understand that it is a creative discipline that uses new technologies to explore fresh approaches to artistic expression. Like Vincent Hartgen himself, this building is about inspiring people to achieve wonderful and creative things.”