The new International Arts Center has started a conversation about further growth for the students and faculty of the department of art and design at Troy.
What was formerly known as Stewart Hall is in the process of being transformed into a new art center for the university, where the graphic design department will be moving.
In the design plans for the new building, the two classrooms have a nontraditional setup and bright colors in the furniture and walls.
“It’s designed to look like a corporation,” said Pamela Allen, chair of the art and design department. “There are different ways the students can approach learning in this setting.”
Allen also said that the building will have a computer lab that is easily convertible to a classroom space.
“We work a great deal with collaborations, and we’ve built a space that is conducive to that,” Allen said.
The center will also feature an up-to-date gallery space.
While the new art center is being built, the art majors have a variety of facilities to work on their numerous projects, specifically the different labs and classrooms in Malone Hall.
“I like Malone because what you see is what you get,” said Laura Hinson, a senior fine art major from Vernon. “It’s kind of honest … It was built with an industrial purpose, and it serves us well.”
Katie Curry, a senior fine arts major from Saint Simons Island, Georgia, said that while the facilities are functional, the new building is much needed.
“Obviously I wouldn’t mind some renovations,” Curry said. “But we make do with what we have pretty well … the new art center is going to be really great.”
Allen said that the department has just fewer than 200 students, with scholarships being available to students with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
In-house scholarships are available to students in every class rank. Students are chosen by academic achievement and must be endorsed by a professor to receive a scholarship.
Awards vary by student based on decisions made by a committee. Freshmen are required to submit a portfolio to be considered.
Students can also apply for a lab position, which is scholarship-based.
“Our primary focus is to be public in some of the things that we offer,” Allen said. “The (Center for Design, Technology and Information) is an opportunity for students to work with clients.”
“There aren’t a lot of us, but we all know each other,” Hinson said. “We’re like a family… It’s one of the things that made me want to come to Troy.”
Curry said she wishes she had a more competitive environment.
“I like the size of our classes, but I wish that we had more people,” Curry said. “A lot of times I don’t feel challenged by my peers.
“I can tell that we’re growing every semester, and hopefully, it will keep growing.”
The art department offers four 120-hour majors: art education, a bachelor of science in art, a bachelor of fine arts in art, and graphic design.
The Bachelor of Science degree requires that students have a minor of their choice, and the fine arts degree requires a focus or concentration on a specific type of art.
Curry plans on pursuing an art history graduate degree after graduation but said that she wouldn’t mind more classes on the subject.
“I personally would like to see more art history classes and a more in-depth subfield of that topic,” Curry said.
Hinson also said that more art history courses would benefit the program.
“I love our art history teacher, but I wish there was one more,” Hinson said. “With a few more classes, we could have an art history minor.”
Allen said that they hope to add more courses on art history and museum studies as well as a new degree program.
“One of the things that we’ve been working on is developing a graduate program,” Allen said. “We want an MFA in something like ‘creative strategies’ … something not like the traditional masters in art.”
Allen said that the department is constantly evaluating the need for software and program updates.
Allen said she believes that the most difficult part of majoring in art is having confidence.
“When I look at students coming in, most of them are coming in without the support of their parents … (the major) is something the parents don’t see a future in,” Allen said. “I think that’s the hardest thing.”
A dedication for the new arts center, and the park surrounding it, is set for Nov. 4.