Rechnitz Hall to Open After Winter Break

ARTBUILDWith the winter weather rolling in and the holiday season jumping to the top of everyone’s minds, the brand new Joan and Robert Rechnitz Hall, or more commonly known as the New Art Building, is set to open up following winter break.

According to the University’s website the building itself offers over 20,000 square feet of space that will be filled with a grand gallery, multiple classrooms, as well as studios, lab rooms, and faculty offices. All of which are aimed to provide students with the space needed to complete their projects and assignments in the most proactive manner. The building is also designed to intentionally mimic the existing building’s exterior façade and contains archive storage space for the university’s expanding art collection.

Dr. Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Art and Design Department, mentions that in order to compliment the vast amount of square footage now offered to the department, the proper layout will be needed to utilize the space its fullest potential. “Flanking the central gallery, are two lecture halls for art history and art appreciation courses. Rechnitz Hall is completely wireless and students will have a lounge on the first floor with comfortable furniture and vending machines. Conveniently, faculty offices are spread throughout Rechnitz Hall allowing for easy accessibility and contact between students and their professors,” said Cohen.

Cohen also illustrates how the building is directed to aid in students’ education in the arts. He says that as compared to the buildings that the art classes currently take place in, there is much more room. “Previously we were in cramped rooms with hardly [any] room to move. This is true of the two third floor studios as well; [the] large, open spaces allow drawing and painting students to spread out and receive proper instruction,” says Cohen.

Aleyah Rubin, a sophomore majoring in fine arts, asserts the same views and expresses her excitement for the added space the building will offer. “What we currently have now is a very cramped studio spaces with too many kids for the rooms, making some have to go into separate rooms during studio time because there aren’t enough tables. With this new building, which is beautiful by the way, there are supposed to be spread out, larger rooms which will let everyone work in the same room at the same time, even if it is a large class,” Rubin states.

To add to the already amped appeal the building holds, the fact that the building is not strictly just for art majors adds to the universal excitement emitting across the student body. Garret Vitulli, a sophomore business major, contests enthusiasm similar to Rubin’s, mentioning how he is happy that he will get to experience the new "Art building experience" without having to actually be an art and design major. “I have an art appreciation class in the building when it first opens up for classes next semester and I have to say that it I’m looking forward to it as much, or maybe a little more, than I am looking forward to my business courses,” says Vitulli.

He proceeds to mention how it could possibly bring more awareness and interest to the department. “I think by letting people from other majors into the building and seeing all of the are doing might influence them to take a few more design-based classes of their own. It could really help boost the department and let other kids discover a skill that they never would have they never thought they could do,” Vitulli contends.

On top of the increased learning spaces, a large gallery was constructed to be one of the main will also showcase student and local pieces. “The inaugural exhibit “faculty and friends” is curated by our Gallery Director, Scott Knauer, and Professor Vincent Dimattio.

In the future, the gallery will display student senior shows and our 'all art/design student exhibition, which are annual events. Additional exhibits, where we bring nationally and internationally by our Gallery Director with input and advice by art/design faculty,” Cohen states.

He goes on to indicate that the Rechnitz Hall gallery will also allow for exhibitions of larger, higher quality to be brought to campus, an option that was not possible in the old 800 Gallery. However some studios will remain in the 600 building zone, such as photography, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture with an additional studio for drawing and painting classes: all to make sure that the previously cramped students now have the necessary space.

The building is set for the grand unveiling sometime after the University’s winter break, where there will be a formal reception for invitees only, and then a general public admission to the building upon the later date. For those who cannot wait for the official viewing or whom wish to stay updated on the art building’s process, they can do so at Monmouth’s website, http://campus_planning/artbuilding.asp, where a virtual tour of the building is offered along with a description of the project.

PHOTO COURTESY of Jacklyn Kouefati