A time to celebrate. That's how faculty and staff at Indiana University's Herron School of Art and Design describe the move to IUPUI's main campus. Eskenazi Hall, the just-finished 170,000-square-foot facility will house more than 70 art and design studios, graduate studio space, a library, an auditorium, four art galleries, a grand hall for public events, catering facilities and outdoor sculpture gardens.
Photos by Chris Meyer
Valerie Eickmeier, Herron's dean, tours Eskenazi's great hall. Eickmeier believes the impact of the new facility extends beyond the expanded classrooms and updated stuidio space. "It's so appropriate that we are on the edge of campus, connecting the city to IUPUI. We are the bridge for that connection," she said. The new building gives the art school space to offer a new graduate degree in visual comunication. The M.F.A. degree program will be offered beginning the fall of 2006.
Eskenazi Hall's soaring entrance provides easy access to its 240-seat auditorium, gallery space, digital computer labs, student lounge and gift shop.
Paul Crumpacker, a fifth-year Herron student from Indianapolis, paints in a classroom at the art school's former facility. With the expanded space at the new location, Herron will be able to accommodate 1,000 degree-seeking students, up from its current capacity of 830. Outreach programs are expected to double as well.
Stephanie Dickey, Herron faculty council president and associate professor of art history, is looking forward to being a part of the IUPUI campus. She believes the move to the main campus will give non-art majors added incentive to enroll in art courses.
"I've heard people say that Herron will do for IUPUI what the School of Music has done for IU in Bloomington. It will put the university on the national and international arts and culture maps."
--Valerie Eickmeier, dean of the Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI
A dedication and grand opening celebration is slated for Friday, June 3, beginning at 3 p.m.
Valerie Eickmeier, Herron's dean since 1998, believes the impact of the new facility extends beyond the expanded classroom and updated studio space.
"The long-awaited move to campus makes a compelling story. But, the story isn't just about the new facility; it's about how we strive for excellence," Eickmeier concedes, noting that Herron's relocation marks the first time the art school will have a physical presence on IUPUI's main campus, a remarkable transformation from its previous location two miles across town.
Pursuing excellence, according to Eickmeier, requires detailed attention to Herron's two distinct identities as a professional art school and as a cultural community arts organization. "We offer programs ranging from continuing education for adults and children to summer youth art camps. Herron serves the community in ways that many people may not realize. The higher visibility we gain from our new facility means more accessibility for everyone."
Eickmeier describes the school's new physical location metaphorically: "It's so appropriate that we are on the edge of campus, connecting the city to IUPUI. We are the bridge for that connection," she said.
David Russick, director and curator of the Herron Galleries, agrees with Eickmeier. He believes the new location will forge stronger ties with the Indianapolis arts community. With its New York Street location, Eskenazi Hall is steps away from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum and the NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Champions.
"I've been able to attract several major artists to consider having exhibitions at Herron just by showing some digital photos of the new facility under construction," said Russick as he described the new gallery's innovations, including 15-foot ceilings and state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems. "The space we've been in for so long was designed as a 19th-century museum. The new space is designed for this century."
Russick is equally excited about the outdoor sculpture garden and is in the midst of coordinating the Herron Public Sculpture Invitational. Starting Sunday, May 15, works by internationally known artists will surround Eskenazi Hall.
Events like the sculpture invitational were simply not possible at the school's old facility. In recent years, as Herron's mission to serve students and the community expanded, the need for updated facilities became increasingly clear. Herron's former three-building facility at 16th and Pennsylvania streets, with one of the buildings originally constructed in 1907, continued falling into disrepair. Herron's enrollment continued to climb, doubling in the past 10 years and requiring the school to lease facilities throughout downtown Indianapolis to teach classes. The plans for a move to campus seemed almost unreachable. The hurdles of budgets and planning stretched out over three decades. At long last, in 1995 plans were approved to renovate the former IU law school building. A few years later, the State of Indiana approved $12 million for the $29.5 million building project. Three million dollars were used to build the Sculpture and Ceramics Facility on Stadium Drive that opened for classes in January 2000.
In addition to hearing cheers from Herron's students and faculty, Eickmeier is getting feedback from colleagues from schools around the country. Other deans are "quite amazed by it," she said, noting that some have requested the floor plans. "People have really taken notice. They think that it's a wonderful facility. I have to agree. It's simply outstanding."
Stephanie Dickey, an associate professor in art history, isn't overlooking how the greater IUPUI community benefits, too. "Moving to campus not only enhances the educational opportunities for Herron students, but also the experiences of non-art majors," she said, adding that the new location and additional space will make it feasible for more students to take art classes. Herron's previous physical distance from IUPUI prompted some students to opt out of taking art classes.
Eickmeier shares Dickey's vision for the IUPUI community. "Herron will play a much broader role in the cultural life of the campus and community. The galleries will have exhibitions open to the public. The visiting artist lectures and film series are free. And, there will be outdoor sculpture gardens for the campus and public to enjoy," she said.
Moving to campus will mark a new era for Herron and IUPUI. "I've heard people say that Herron will do for IUPUI what the School of Music has done for IU in Bloomington. It will put the university on the national and international arts and culture maps," said Eickmeier.
Herron Gallery exhibition schedule:
· Now through July 31: Gala Opening Exhibitions. featuring artwork by Don Gummer, Robert Berkshire and Eleanor Prest Reese.
· May 15-October: Herron Public Sculpture Invitational, featuring work by Tom Otterness, Wim Delvoye, Judith Shea, John Ruppert, Edward Mayer, Greg Hull, Katrin Asbury, David Bellamy, Barbara Cooper, Eric Nordgulen, Casey Eskridge, James Wille Faust, Don Gummer, Arny Nadler and Tom Sachs.
· Upcoming exhibitions: Robert Rauschenberg (Sept. 9-Oct. 9); Hope: Photographs (Oct. 14-Nov. 12); John Mellencamp (Nov. 18-Jan.6).
Notable Herron artists:
• Bill Peet: A 27-year Disney veteran animator, including work on the 101 Dalmatians screenplay
• Norman Bridwell: Creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog
• Michael Graves: Architect and designer
• Jared Lee: Indianapolis artist and character creator for L.L. Bean, Simon and Schuster, and Blockbuster
• James Wille Faust: Commissioned by Absolut Vodka to depict Indiana
• Rob Day: Illustrations published by Rolling Stone, BusinessWeek, Smithsonian and Sports Illustrated