Humanities students arrived this fall to a newly transformed art wing thanks to the Class of 2018 Senior Parents Gift, which supported the Cullman Art Center renovation.
The art wing, which once served as a student lounge, was created in 1981 with a generous gift from Edgar '36 and Louise Cullman 'P64, GP'84. The renovation of the 8,200-square-foot wing has been years in the making, according to visual art program director and instructor of art, J. Bradley Faus, who worked on planning stages of the renovation with Lakeville-based architectural designers Robert and Pilar Bristow, parents of Grace Bristow '18 and Ellis Bristow '20.
"We've been chipping away at this since 2011. We knew we wanted it to be a flexible space, especially when it came to lighting, and we wanted to open it to the outdoors so students could be inspired by nature and be in nature," he said. "And I think we succeeded with our goal of creating a bright, open, flexible space."
The $1.5 million renovation included fully upgrading the wing's five studios, and adding custom-made moveable modular tables and desks, redesigned storage cubbies and cabinets, and updated fixtures, sinks, floors, air ventilation, wall panels and finishes. New overhead digital projectors, screens, retractable ceiling outlets were added. A LED lighting system with adjustable dimmers and zone-specific capability was installed in the studios, and along the lobby gallery, where cloth-paneled walls showcase student artwork. Additional spaces, including a lecture areas, storage rooms, ceramics kiln and glazing rooms, and meeting room also received upgrades and new finishes.
Outside, a terrace was installed and doors were added to the studios facing Lake Wononscopomuc to give students greater access to the natural surroundings. In a nod to the School's past, custom-designed desks, tables, cabinets, and wall accents were made from wood milled from one of the School's heritage elms, which had to be cut down in 2017.
With sleek white countertops and white-painted walls and ceilings, the art wing now feels a lot like a blank canvas. "I think its elegant and beautiful," said upper mid Asher Duford, an advanced portfolio student.
"But," he added, "when I first saw it, I thought we need to charcoal it up, get our paint and our fingerprints on it, and make it smell like the old place."