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Art students find new home in old dorm

April 25, 2013

 

CODY SEXTON
Staff Reporter

 

Since the 1960s, Tech’s school of art has offered its students a studio space in Richardson Dorm, located near Cottingham Dorm.

 

The abandoned dorm rooms now provide a convenient place for painters, photographers and other artists to work.

 

Professor of art Nicholas Bustamante said he has been the faculty supervisor of the Richardson studios since 2008.

 

“Providing a space to work is incredibly important for nurturing a creative development,” Bustamante said. “Louisiana Tech is one of a handful of public universities in the nation that offers undergraduate students this type of private studio.”

 

Richardson is occupied by 38 students and professors who have been provided with their own creative space.

 

MC Davis, one of the studio residents, said he monitors Richardson and takes a permanent residence in the studio.

 

Davis said a lot of work has been done to the dorms and they are slowly getting the building the way they want it.

 

Some of the renovations include turning a bathroom into a screen-printing lab.

 

“This is how you screen print T-shirts and all the posters for the art department,” Davis said. “We get students to screen print and make them all in here.”

 

Each studio is unique to each of its inhabitants, said Davis.

 

Many students have decorated the studios to give them a home-like appearance, because they spend so much time there; they said their studio is like a home.

 

Jamie Johnson, a graduate photography student, said in her studio she has a place to take and develop her photos.

 

“I took this picture over against that wall,” Johnson said, pointing to one photograph.

 

She said she spends a lot of time in her studio developing her photos in other ways than on regular photo paper.

 

“This is on a Japanese rice paper,” Johnson said about one photo. “It’s a process where you coat the chemical on the paper and let it dry in our dark room, then you expose it like you would a traditional black-and-white photograph.”

 

Johnson, who said most of the art the students work on gets submitted into shows, said she is preparing for her own solo show this summer.

 

Peter Hay, a graduate student, said the dorms are convenient because he does not have to transport his work to and from campus every day.

 

“I couldn’t bring these back and forth from home,” Hay said about the 6-by-6 foot canvases. “It would just be a nightmare.”

 

Hay, who previously attended school in Oklahoma, said even though he had access to the painting building there, it was not the same as his own studio.

 

“We couldn’t leave our stuff out,” Hay said. “It improves the quality of work and it definitely makes the size of painting manageable.”

 

Having a consistent workspace where an artist can leave out his or her materials is ideal when working on some pieces like an installation piece, said Davis.

 

“An installation piece is not framed or a sculpture,” Davis said. “It’s a piece where you have to physically go to its setting or gallery to see it.”

 

Some students would say it would be inconvenient to transport a project like an installation piece because it would have to be reset each time.

 

“Only a handful of schools offer private studios to their students,” Davis said. “We’re extremely fortunate to have these.”

 

Email comments to cls068@latech.edu.


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