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The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to announce that The University of Texas at Austin has approved $7 million in institutional funding for the adaptive re–use and renovation of the Visual Arts Center (VAC). Dean Douglas Dempster has been instrumental in securing this funding, which is critical to addressing facilities issues in the Art Building. The VAC will serve as a flexible, interdisciplinary, educational environment in Art History, Design, Studio Art, and Visual Art Studies/Art Education. It will create the department's first centralized community spaces, allowing faculty, alumni, and the public to join students as they present groundbreaking research in art and art history.
Located on the first floor of the Art building in the former Huntington Gallery and Blanton Museum space, the VAC will be prominently placed to serve as the hub of creative, academic and social life for students. The Visual Arts Center will add over 22,000 square feet of space to the department, and create a home for student and faculty exhibitions, lectures, symposia, teaching workshops, visiting artist and alumni exhibitions, the Maya Meetings at Texas, student internships, K–12 arts discovery programs, and independent study courses.
Slated to begin December 2008 and be completed by January 2010, the renovation is being created by award–winning San Antonio–based architecture firm Lake | Flato. The Trinity Street loading dock, which faces the Doty Fine Arts Building, will serve as the main entrance to the Department of Art and Art History. The central courtyard will be opened to students, faculty, and staff as a gathering and interdisciplinary area. The renovated space will house the Mesoamerica Center and graduate studio space as well as departmental administrative offices that are currently scattered throughout the building.
Upon completion, the Department of Art and Art History will be the only one of our peer institutions housing exhibition space, classrooms, administrative offices, and graduate studios under one roof. It will be the largest university exhibition space in the nation charged with exhibiting all areas of studio art, and it will allow undergraduate and graduate student artwork to be exhibited side–by–side!