Party for Art’s Sake - Thousands turn out for a celebration at Studio Arts

It’s a given these days—when the School of Art and Art History throws a party, everyone shows up.

Take the April 30 Arts Festival at Studio Arts, the transitional quarters for the flood-displaced school, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Thousands of guests streamed through hallways lined with student work, watched printmakers and metalsmiths, gathered in the warmth of wood-burning kilns, and paused to have their portraits taken.

It was the third such celebration since Iowa’s visual arts departments—with help from University and collegiate administration, facilities professionals, and contractors—transformed a vacant home improvement store into a hub for creative collaboration.

The first open house, only a few months after the flood of 2008, drew crowds eager to show their support. A second event in spring 2009 proved an even bigger draw and demonstrated beyond a doubt that students, faculty, and staff had made Studio Arts home.

Flood cleanup and mitigation projects continue at Art Building West, expected to reopen in 2011. The original Art Building suffered irreparable damage when the Iowa River swelled to record levels. Renowned architect Steven Holl will design a replacement facility on higher ground.

Until then, Studio Arts will continue to evolve, as its residents demonstrate that people, not buildings, make a school great.

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video by
Kirk Murray

© The University of Iowa 2009