Over the last few months, Carleton College has asked itself: How can we move forward with the extraordinary ideas and energy of the Arts Union planning process in a significantly changed financial environment?
Building on the work of the College’s Arts Planning Committee and the original design process for the Arts Union, the vision that has emerged is a distillation, and continuation, of those plans. At its heart, the Arts Union is intended to be a place to showcase the arts, to foster interdisciplinary work between the arts departments, and between arts departments and other disciplines across the curriculum. This distillation of the principles behind the planning process has led to a new plan for the building that is at once a tremendous upgrade to the College’s arts facilities and a genuinely unique environment for collaborative work.
The current planning process envisions:
- A place to spotlight the VISUAL ARTS, centered in a Teaching Museum (expanded art galleries with significantly increased access to the College’s art collection);
- A place to spotlight the PERFORMING ARTS, featuring a 250-seat flexible theater and new dance studios with performance capability;
- A place to spotlight the MEDIA ARTS, anchored by the Department of Cinema and Media Studies’s production and editing studios and a 250-seat cinema theater.
These three core areas will be linked by classroom space, non-traditional instructional space, and “white space” – unique places in the facility intended for collaborative projects, small performances, ad hoc exhibitions and other interdisciplinary uses. Additionally, a large public atrium with a coffee shop and various meeting rooms throughout the facility are envisioned to make the building a thriving center for the College community.
Timeline. The goal is to complete design development by the end of 2009 and to bring the plan—along with a detailed financial plan—to the Carleton College Board of Trustees for a vote at their February 2010 meeting. Construction would then begin in the spring of 2010, with the goal of having the Arts Union complete and ready to open in the fall of 2011.