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The Arts Union: Because Great Minds Think Alike

January 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm
By Margaret Taylor '10

The official name for the project formerly known as “the new arts center”, “the old middle school", and “wait, we’re building a what?” has finally been revealed:

The Arts Union.

During fall term, Carleton called on students, faculty and staff to submit names for the new building. With an iPhone or the cash equivalent as an incentive, a slew of entries were received. In an all-campus e-mail, Scott Bierman said that the “Name the Building” committee chose The Arts Union as the winning entry because it was “simple, non-gimmicky, descriptive, aspirational,” and leant itself well to abbreviation. The new name was so hip, in fact, that two people thought of it independently.

The two winners were Erica Abshez, a junior Art and Art History major, and Karen Moldenhauer, senior administrative assistant to Associate Dean Liz Ciner. They did not know each other before the contest, and until the winners were announced, neither was aware that someone else had submitted the same idea. Both winners cited the same reason for choosing The Arts Union, however — the building is going to be on Union Street. Also, Abshez always wished there was a Student Union on campus, and she sees the new building as a unification of the arts. As for Moldenhauer, “I had been thinking along the lines of the building being an archway to, or uniting, the college with the Northfield community.” Indeed, the new building is set somewhat apart from the rest of the campus in the bordering residential neighborhood.

Abshez and Moldenhauer wre both delighted that their name idea was chosen as the winner. “I just entered it on a whim,” said Abshez. Unfortunately, Abshez will not get to take art classes in the building because the middle school renovation is a long-term, multistage project. Preliminary blueprints have only just been made public in Upper Sayles. But the name Abshez chose will stick around Carleton long after she graduates. “It’s great that a student will have that memory and connection to the building,” said Moldenhauer.

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