New Art Facility on the Way for Kennesaw State University

 Image of building Chastain Pointe Suite 115
Chastain Pointe Suite 115 will become a new facility for Art and Design students.

Art and Design students to have a new workspace this spring

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb 4, 2020) — Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) School of Art and Design (SOAAD) has experienced tremendous growth in enrollment over the last several years, and as a result, SOAAD has felt some growing pains in their current facilities. More space is clearly needed and, with support of the College of the Arts and Kennesaw State, SOAAD began renovating a massive 21,000 square foot facility at Chastain Pointe in October 2019 to give art and design students more space to work and study.

Image of bare warehouse

Above, Chastain Pointe Suite 115 requires a lot of work to prepare it for Art and Design students, faculty, and staff.

On track to be completed this spring, the Chastain Pointe facility will feature an impressive number of large studios and workspaces, along with additional faculty and administrative offices. Director of SOAAD and Professor of Art Geo Sipp has been overseeing the renovations and is very impressed with the work done so far. “The studios will have suspended ceiling panels, and the space will maintain a very industrial aesthetic, with ductwork and the decking visible,” says Sipp.

Of the 21,000 square feet of space, only 1,000 sq. ft. will be used for such items as electrical equipment, leaving ample room for students to create and learn. Major studio spaces include four drawing and painting studios (about 1,400 sq. ft. each) and a 7,000 sq. ft. printmaking studio, including dedicated areas for different techniques utilized by printmaking students.

Many pieces of equipment, including antique printing presses, will be on display and be available for use by printmaking students. “We have so many printmaking materials,” according to Sipp, “and, right now, so many pieces of equipment that are in storage are state-of-the-art printmaking equipment. We’re going to be the best print facility in the South.” The facility will also boast papermaking studio, small computer lab and conference room, plus ample open study spaces. Several faculty offices and an administrative office will help give the growing faculty and staff some breathing room.

Chris Dziejowski

Above, Chris Dziejowski examines the plumbing trench lines in the warehouse. 

While the new facility will primarily house drawing, painting, and printmaking spaces, all art and design students will benefit from this facility. “We are a very pluralistic program where fine and applied arts inform each other,” according to Sipp. “For example, animation and illustration students have to take figure drawing, advanced figure drawing; they have to take painting, they have to take printmaking. It’s essential to understand these other disciplines to be a well-rounded illustrator or animator.” This merging of these distinct areas of art, fine art and applied art sets SOAAD students up for success after graduation. Sipp explains, “It’s all about image development and image content—so you learn these skills and it makes you a better professional in these other disciplines. What we have done is really focused on the marriage of fine and applied arts, and I think that makes us really unique.”

Although it’s been a tight squeeze in the current SOAAD facilities, the faculty and staff of the school are excited to see such growth. “Students are voting with their feet,” say Sipp. “They’re coming to KSU specifically because we offer these five disciplines. KSU’s programs are gaining students rapidly. We now have approximately 1100 students in art and design. When I came here in 2014, we had around 400, and it’s simply because the faculty and staff supported our ideas that the applied arts would draw students.” Sipp and the School have seen ample support from both COTA and KSU as a whole with the expansion of their programs and facilities as well. “KSU, as such a young institution,” remarks Sipp, “has been supportive of the interesting ways of devising programs and putting programs out there. We have a really unique institution here, and the School of Art and Design is positioned well.”

Chastain Pointe expansion

Above: Framework for the walls is installed. 

Although the new facility is on track to complete renovations this spring, faculty and staff at SOAAD are waiting to include the workspaces in their Fall 2020 course offerings. “We’re scheduling classes for fall 2020 based on our available space as it exists now—not counting this space,” advises Sipp. However, once completed, the Chastain Pointe facility will give SOAAD the space to make it an extremely competitive art school in the South, particularly in the applied arts.

Take a walk through the construction site! 

--Lauren Richmond and Kathie Beckett; images and video by Shane McDonald