By Jenna Kazmar
If you don’t know an art student, you’ve probably seen one. If so, you may be aware of how their workload can be; and if you’ve ever seen the Sharadin Arts Building, you may have also noticed how it isn’t as nicely furnished as other buildings.
The art building, while great in what it currently is, could do with some improvements. It provides KU with so much, yet it lacks some things that would fulfill art students’ specific needs.
It’d be accommodating if there were a place to comfortably power-nap, or if there were access to a coffee or food station for use. Art students could benefit both mentally and physically.
Most art students joke about “living” in Sharadin; when in reality, it’s far from funny. Art majors typically have all of their classes and studios in Sharadin. On top of that, intensive art projects often require extra hours in the studios/labs.
Many students cannot take their projects home due to the need for specialized equipment and/or tools, such as printing presses,
power tools, acid baths, looms, printers, etc. Likewise, some projects are simply too large or complicated to transport between apartment and studio.
Much of this work is additionally limited to after-class hours, since studio and intro-level classes often occupy the workspaces as late as 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This is usually a factor in why art students are so exhausted. In fact, many students will resort to sleepingin the art building after a long night. “If you’re here until 5 a.m. working on a project, and you have a class in Sharadin at 8 a.m., you might as well not go back to your dorm,” says Anna Lipinski, an art education and fine art dual major.
Those who choose not to sleep in Sharadin often forgo rest altogether. It’s not unusual to come across an art student who hasn’t slept in more than 24 hours.
Unfortunately, Sharadin’s doors are locked from 12 a.m. to 7 a.n. If a student is pulling an all-nighter and takes a break at 2 a.m., they’re unable to get coffee or fresh food unless there is someone able to let them back into the building.
A proper lounge area for students to rest, get some fuel, and take a breather is definitely a possibility. Of course, some would argue against art students receiving special treatment; when in reality, it’s simply an act of fulfilling the unique needs of a major.
Other buildings on the north side of campus satisfy the needs of their respective colleges. Boehm, for example, is an enormous science building with multiple lounges that include couches and comfortable chairs. Beekey Educational Center has a main lounge in the lobby that is full of couches, as well as benches spread throughout the building. Even Old Main has a gorgeous lounge—fireplace included.
Again, while the facilities in Sharadin are nice as is, they could be better. The lobbies of Sharadin are furnished with tables and chairs instead of comfortable armchairs and sofas.
Melissa Way, an art education and crafts major, says, “The chairs and the tables are nice for working on, but students need to be able to do more than just work. We need to have a place where we can take a nap because I’ve seen people napping under tables.”
Unlike the library—where students of many majors gather and have access to furnishing and a full-fledged coffee shop—Sharadin’s snack and drink options are limited to what can be provided by vending machines.
Melissa Way agreed that a coffee shop or self-serve unit would be the most helpful out of anything. A kitchenette self-serve unit, maintained by a student monitor, would be the most economical solution to the overall problem; but would rely on students bringing their own food and supplies.
A coffee shop, such as another branch of Java City, would be an equally useful addition and could be run by students. Both ideas would provide students with job opportunities and would further provide art students the nutritional facilities that they need.
Instead of leaning on the administration for funding, art students could host fundraisers. Art sales in the past have helped to fund students studying abroad, and if well coordinated, art students could raise enough money to get what they need.
Administrators of the art-building can see that art students’ lives revolve around Sharadin, and that they eat, sleep (sometimes), and breathe art.
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