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Subject: Proposal for a Student-Run Student Art Center


To: President Michael Roth & Office of Student Affairs | From: Cynthia Tong 14
1 November 2013

Proposal: The creation of a student-run arts space to allow students to integrate and
actualize the things they learn in the academic setting into their artistic endeavors outside
the classroom.

Problem: It is well known that over 60-70% of students on the Wesleyan campus take at
least one arts class, be it studio/visual art, music, theater, or dance. However, after that
class, many students, majors and non-majors, are not given the space to process, imagine, or
realize their ideas nor continue hands-on creative work in the arts. In a survey last year done
by the WSA, 96% of the 54 respondents said there were not enough art spaces on campus
(please see attached Appendix A for summary of responses). Currently, there are limited
spaces for the 30-40 student-run arts-based groups and individuals to grow, explore, and
cultivate their passions in the arts. The only university spaces that arts groups have access to
right now are Usdan rooms, including the Multipurpose Room in the basement for music
groups, and the Fayerweather Dance Studio and Fayerweather Theater Room for dance and
theater rehearsals. Furthermore, the Dance and Theater Department spaces are
understandably not open to student groups because their space is rightfully reserved for their
majors and department related activities. At times, it can even be challenging for them to
find space for their activities and events.

Currently, many student groups, particularly performance-based groups, often book
residential lounges when they cannot use the appropriate spaces, however, those lounges are
neither equipped nor safe for rehearsals. Moreover, by using the lounges as makeshift
rehearsal rooms, these groups unfortunately take away shared residential spaces from the
students who live in these buildings. It is clear that having a new space would not only
improve the residential experience for those who are involved in the arts and for those who
support it, but also for those who live in the residential dorms that are currently being used
as makeshift rehearsal space.

Rundown of the Numbers:
Second Stage puts up an average of 12 shows a semester, but these shows only have 2
spaces that are equipped for rehearsals (Fayerweather Dance & Theater Rooms) and
they occasionally have access to one Theater Department space for rehearsals
13+ dance groups on campus, each group practices an average of 2 5 hours a week,
only 2 useable spaces on campus for rehearsals (Fayerweather Dance & Theater
Rooms)
WesBam! (a group that provides non-credit fitness classes through WesWell)
provides 15 different 1-1.5 hour classes each week, ranging from Krava Maga to
Yoga, in the Fayerweather Dance & Theater Rooms
Most of the student bands (rough estimate of 15 - 20) and individual artists either
practice in dorms, or use the Multipurpose Room in the Usdan basement, the only
place equipped with a drum set, a keyboard, and other music equipment
There is no formal space right now for visual artists who are not currently enrolled in
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art classes to develop or showcase their work
4 7 culture shows a semester, dance and music are an important part of many
cultures, therefore, the students involved with these culture shows often use the
dance and music spaces on campus for their rehearsals (Fayerweather Dance &
Theater Rooms, Usdan Multipurpose Room)

Solution:
1) To renovate the Wesleyan-owned Hamlin St building near Junior Village into a
Student-Run Student Art Center. This would bring many more students down to an
area that has traditionally been isolated from campus. The most important thing we
need right now is space for various uses including practice, performance, discussion,
collaboration, and workshopping. We envision a two-storied building with rehearsal
spaces upstairs and open gallery space and communal space downstairs. By creating a
space that is reserved for student-run arts groups, we also hope to increase inter-
group relations and collaboration. This would encourage inter-art and
interdisciplinary works.

2) Create a yearlong internship for two students a year to run the space as well as hire
student workers to man the check-in desk and troubleshoot problems for student
groups using the space. Their duties would include having a meeting at the beginning
of each semester with the WSA Community Committee members to work on
connecting with student groups, and working with student workers to help create
safe and effective environment for student groups who would like to use the space.
They would also work with artists or groups of artists that would like to use the
gallery space to show their work or the multipurpose performance space to put up a
show or event. By creating internships and front desk jobs, we would also be
increasing student jobs on campus and giving more students an opportunity to learn
valuable, real world skills, which they can apply to other jobs later on. With the
exception of the University Organizing Center (UOC), there is no other building on
campus that is student-run.

The space would include:
Small Lounge entrance/check in desk
Practice room(s) for theatre and dance with sound system and mirrors
Music practice room(s) with piano, drum set, and amp
Open Gallery space for visual artists to show their work
Art room(s) for visual arts to develop their works
Multipurpose space for informal performances and for interdisciplinary collaboration
Small office for Art Center student interns in charge of running the space

Conclusion: Right now, the demand is high for a safe space dedicated to student-run arts
groups. Wesleyan prides itself on the artistic successes of its graduates, and this center will
only increase the opportunities that current students have in achieving their creative
potential. If this center is created, it will be HIGHLY utilized, will encourage
interdisciplinary collaboration, and will contribute greatly to the arts community and the
residential experience on campus.
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Appendix A: Art Spaces Survey Results
Zach Malter
April 9, 2013

Do you feel there are enough arts spaces on campus?

Yes: 4%
No: 96%
54 Responses

If you answered no, what type of arts space(s) in particular should be added to the
Wesleyan campus?

" Not enough dance rehearsal spaces for student groups (there are over 15 dance
groups) and non-majors Fayerweather is the only one (non-majors cannot use CFA
Dance Studio or Schonberg)

" Fayerweather Theater Rehearsal room needs a mirror (and the curtain can cover it
when necessary) - general need for mirrors (including in the Usdan multi-purpose
room) note from Cynthia 11/1/13: this project has been completed over the summer

" Not enough dance performance spaces (92 is the only one and competing with
theater)

" Hard to book when performances converge there should be an open space where
people can go without reservation, limit it to 1 hour per group

" Need for more rooms for band practice - with drum set and pa

" Install portable mirror on wheels

" Some studios should have marley floors (and no carpeting)

" Build a new dance studio to replace the one lost in 156 High

" Not enough visual arts spaces

" Need for recording studio

" More gallery space for student artwork