Throughout the year, Chair of the Art Department and Professor Mark Holmes said he has had the privilege of providing direct input into the creation of the Whitcomb Art Building. During this year’s upcoming Homecoming Week, visitors will be able to have a tour of the building. Until then, Holmes is excited for the reveal.
“The new building is stunning. It is everything we imagined it to be and more,” he says.
Holmes says that via Facebook, he updates Knox alumni and professors at neighboring colleges about the building. He says that they too are amazed at the changes. “I would argue that our art building is one of the best, if not the very best, art buildings in the ACM,” he said.
Holmes has been the “point person” in the project. He has been involved in every detail, from the placing of security cameras and window shades to the sizes of sinks. Unfortunately, Holmes says that the project has resulted in a meeting every day, which is time consuming. However, he says that the outcome surpasses all of that.
“It has been a lot of work for everybody but it has been a labor of joy,” he said.
Further, Holmes believes the art building is overdue. He argued that with the addition of the art building, Knox rebrands itself as an institution that takes art seriously.
“What was really overdue was the reinvestment in a facilities for the arts,” he said.
He hopes the additional building helps gain more students during recruitment while also persuading students to stay.
Once Whitcomb is finalized, the art professors will move of their current facilities. Additionally, advanced art students will move out of their studies in the basement of the auxiliary gym which he believes can be dangerous. Holmes says this opens up space for CFA as well. Essentially, once dance moves into the CFA, the building will become the Center for Performing Arts.
The professor adds that the CFA was also outdated for art classes because it isn’t properly ventilated since its 1963 creation. An art student may be breathing in harmful fumes because of the work. The Whitcomb building properly attends to an art student’s needs because of the investment in technological improvements.
Holmes says that the building will feature a Mac Lab and 3D printers. Additionally, Holmes wanted art students to feel like they had a proper space to work on independent projects, so there are cubical areas in the building. “Students will feel like they have their own little studio,” he said.
Also, he says that there is a proper dark room for light-sensitive work. Overall, Holmes says the building has studios in ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, painting, drawing, design and four darkrooms. Expanding beyond that, there is a lecture room, seminar hall and nine offices.
Whitcomb will additionally allow students to expand into the field of wood-working and welding. Holmes, who has a 20 year background in furniture-making, hopes to eventually teach classes on furniture design-thanks to the building. The professor adds that Knox has always been vocal about its famous history. However, he said, “I want students to look at the building and see their future.”