and Design Celebrates New Addition
to Michael Cinelli
(Art and Design), it's no accident that the great Impressionist
painters of the late 19th century lived and worked in close proximity
to each other in Paris.
tend to congregate in communities and feed off the collective creative
energy," he said. "Here at Northern, our department hasn't
really had an ability to do that until now. Things have been rather
disjointed, but now all programs are under one roof for the first
time since the late '60s. Faculty can interact with each other.
It is a closed circle with all of the different studio concentrations
coexisting in one active beehive."
unifying force Cinelli described is the recently completed addition
to the Art and Design North
It houses the painting, drawing, printmaking and photography components
previously located in Lee Hall.
It also accommodates the computer labs and concentrations of digital
cinema, environmental design and illustration that occupied portions
of Thomas Fine Arts.
addition opened Jan. 17 for the start of the winter semester. Cinelli
said students are usually more concerned about the quality of the
equipment they have to work with than the studio facilities. He
is pleasantly surprised by the favorable buzz and "thumbs-up"
gestures this project has generated from art and design majors.
60,000 square-foot facility is anchored by the DeVos
Museum. It features two galleries
– one for the university's permanent collection and another for
temporary or traveling exhibitions, a climate-controlled storage
room for permanent collection works, and a "prep space"
with a loading dock to receive pieces for upcoming exhibits.
is a lecture room with an intimate setting that belies its generous
seating capacity of 100. Cinelli said it is now possible for students
to listen to a lecture about 20th century illustration, for example,
and walk across the hall to see related pieces in the permanent
collection; or for a visiting artist to address a class and then
accompany students to the museum where her or his works are on display
to illustrate the points.
lecture room is two-way interactive, so we will be able to do more
with our Virtual Visiting Artist Series," he explained. "New
York artists can't always give
up days of their schedule, but they can spend an hour with one of
our classes via ITV. With the focus on internationalizing the curriculum,
we could even expand on that – perhaps connecting students with
the British Design
or similar institutions in other
countries. It's nice to have this option in-house because we'll
use it more often."
a digital cinema professor, Cinelli appreciates the "green
screen room." It has a curved wall covered with a special green
paint that allows one to manipulate the background with computer-generated
special effects. The process is called digital compositing. Cinelli
likens it to the blue weather wall that morphs into different maps,
graphics and satellite images as a meteorologist stands in front
of it to deliver the forecast.
are also six new studios. One is for general design projects and
mimics an art agency with 25 cubicles accessible to students from
various specialties. A portfolio studio allows students to effectively
photograph their pieces of art –
whether they are large or small, flat
or three-dimensional. There are also studios for matting and mounting,
printmaking, painting, and drawing/illustration. The latter two
feature controlled lighting.
highlights of the addition include:
a computer suite with four labs (from general-purpose to high-end)
and a sound studio;
a critique room with vertical bulletin boards spanning the side
walls to display works as they are being discussed;
a photography suite with light studio, commercial-scale darkroom,
film-loading rooms and 25 work stations, most of which are for black-and-white
sophisticated high-tech security systems to protect valuable art
a student lounge area furnished with compact sofas designed by the
late Charles Eames and offered through the Herman Miller classics
a department office suite with adjoining conference room located
in the walkway between Art and Design North and the addition; and
zinc panels on the exterior of the DeVos Art Museum, which Cinelli
said are impervious to the elements and give the facility the distinction
of being the only metal-clad building on campus.
Northern started planning the art and design addition five years
ago, Cinelli said the department had 300 majors. That number has
since climbed to nearly 500.
now the largest department in the College
and Sciences, which isn't typical
of most liberal arts colleges," Cinelli added. "The challenge
for us is to accommodate the growth without reaching the point of
warehousing. We want to maintain our reputation for quality programs
in a high-tech, high-touch environment. It's a nice problem to have
and it's made easier by the fact we have this new addition. We're
very pleased with how it turned out."