New ART Lab now open

Since the Art Research Technology (ART) lab officially opened its doors to the School of Art on Feb. 27, both students and staff have been impressed.

Professors were able to start teaching there the first Monday after reading week.

The ART Lab is part of the Tache Arts Project (TAP) which aims to create improved spaces for the university’s art, music and theatre programs.

(TAP) is also part of Project Domino, which aims to retrofit buildings for 21st century use and to rejuvenate the Fort Garry Campus.

The main part of the project is the construction of the New ART Lab and a new facility for the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music that will be joined to Taché by a covered atrium.

The ART Lab houses the large spaces music and art require like classrooms, lecture theatres, studios and an exhibition hall.

Paul Hess, director of the School of Art, said they moved into their new building during reading week.

“It took us four to five days to move in, but we didn’t move everything from our old building because some areas are complex to move, like the video studio or larger gallery collection,” he added.

He explained that everything will be moved in by this summer.

“I think it’s a great building, I’ve spent the last three and a half years working on the program. It meets my expectations for what I hoped to get, but it exceeds [them] in reality,” said Hess.

He said everyone he’s brought into the building thinks it is the most amazing building they have ever seen.

Hess explained the university has stuck to the $30 million project budget and the original plans in building it.

“This [was] a complicated building to make because it doesn’t have too many squares or boxes, this is a very angular design,” he said.

He added it was a challenge for the contractor to build it, but they were well prepared for all the details.

It is going to be a very important building for the campus and for the U of M because it will suggest to visitors that there are old, traditional buildings but also the new ones, Hess said.

“It gives the university more prominence nationally and internationally. This building will attract attention and students will say it is a good place to study art,” he said.

The centre will give undergraduate and graduate students access to digital technologies and upgraded space for collaboration, experimentation and research.

Dominique Rey, an assistant professor in the School of Art, said the first time she came into the building she was in shock and she could not believe it was their new building.

“I have been to many art schools across the country and internationally and it is quite incomparable in terms of space and light,” she said.

She added she would not be surprised if there is an influx of students from outside the province and even internationally as a result.

Nicolette Nuwtten and Linaya Penniston, two students of the School of Art, like their new study space.

Nuwtten said she was not particularly excited to move into the new building, but, now that she has got there, it is inspiring.

Penniston said the new building “is much better than the [old] one. I was comfortable working there, but here everything is so new.”

The contractor is still finishing up with details and services, like Internet, in the building but they should be done soon.

December 2014 is TAP’s expected completion date.