Our excitement about the University of Iowa’s new Visual Arts Building is significant, as you can imagine. We simply can’t wait to officially introduce this facility to the greater UI community.
It should come as no surprise to anyone in the state of Iowa that the letter “I” became a theme as I sat down to pen this short but important note to the many friends of the University of Iowa, long-time enthusiasts of the visual arts, and those whose interest in the visual arts is new.
Important – The new Visual Arts Building is important not only to the state of Iowa, but also the world. I share this message proudly with our students and their parents each time the opportunity presents itself because it is true: This year, more than 650 undergraduate students and another 95 graduate students – many from Iowa and many others from points across the globe – will pursue knowledge and skills for a rapidly changing world inside this wonderful new structure.
“The new Visual Arts Building is important not only to the state of Iowa, but also the world. This year, more than 650 undergraduate students and another 95 graduate students – many from Iowa and many others from points across the globe – will pursue knowledge and skills for a rapidly changing world inside this wonderful new structure.”
Impressive – It is quite impressive that approximately 70 percent of the art students at the UI who will seize upon the many opportunities in the new facility are double majors including, for example, a fast-growing number of students who are pursuing a degree in both art and engineering. It is also noteworthy that the number of UI art students double majoring is up more than 60 percent in the last decade.
Innovative – The UI’s School of Art and Art History has a storied legacy of innovation. It was the first in the country to award a Master’s of Fine Arts degree. Its innovative programs in the study and practice of contemporary art caught the attention of Peggy Guggenheim and ultimately led to her gift of Jackson Pollack’s Mural to the UI. The Visual Arts Building engages this legacy and embraces what is known internationally as the “Iowa Idea” – the building and valuing of creative work.
Invitation – A handful of days ago, I was walking up one of the sidewalks that leads to the front door of the new Visual Arts Building and was greeted by four visitors, a couple from Iowa who were entertaining another couple from Minnesota. I pointed out the intriguing “I” discreetly integrated into the upper left corner of the building’s façade. They peppered me with questions about the goings on inside the building. I suggested they go inside, choose a place to stand on any of the five floors in the building, and turn in any direction. From that vantage point they would see the creativity that is our future. They would see prints being lifted from a press, ceramics work being done on kick wheels, hot metal casting in the foundry, a plasma cutter slicing a sheet of steel. They would see some of the nearly 1,600 students enrolled in an arts class at the UI working in one of the finest purpose-built academic visual arts buildings in the world.
On behalf of everyone at the University of Iowa and, most notably, the students, faculty, and staff of the School of Art and Art History, we invite you to join us at the dedication and open house of our new home. You, like our students and faculty, will be roused as you walk up to the facility, and then inspired by all the incredible creative work that will be happening inside.
Professor and Area Head; Coordinator, Studio Division
Take a video tour of the UI's new Visual Arts Building by clicking here.