Art department renovations on hold again, students frustrated yet hopeful

Proposed projects include repainting, accessibility updates and renaming


Travis Boudreau - The State Hornet

From left, senior art majors Carmen Tham and Heather Schepperle work on their art pieces in the Art Sculpture Lab located on campus next to the Sacramento State Police Department on Wednesday. The Art Sculpture Lab is one of two art buildings with outstanding issues in refurbishments.

Travis Boudreau

Tasked with working around peeling walls, minimal storage space, tight work quarters  and insufficient maintenance updates, art students are still waiting for renovations to be made at their department buildings.

Kadema Hall and the Art Sculpture Lab are the heart of Sacramento State’s art department and home to some of the school’s best and brightest artists.

Although many of the art students love the school’s art program, they feel that renovations should be made to update the two facilities on campus.

Carolyn Gibbs, the department of art chair, said she is very mindful of the amount of issues that plague the art department’s buildings. Gibbs said it is very difficult to get the funds necessary to pass these renovation projects.

“Our external accreditors have identified quite a number of issues with regard to health and safety that put us on this track to getting something done,” Gibbs said.

Currently, there are three renovation projects that are in the process of being scheduled or rescheduled for the art department facility maintenance.

Travis Boudreau – The State Hornet
Along the painted hallways of Kadema Hall, students attend art classes and show their artwork in the R.W. Witt Gallery. The gallery is set to be renamed the R.W. and Joyce Witt Gallery.

These renovations include a full building repaint of Kadema Hall, accessibility and safety maintenance of Kadema Hall and the Art Sculpture Lab and a name change of the R.W. Witt Gallery to the R.W. and Joyce Witt Gallery.

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According to Gibbs, the full building repaint of Kadema Hall was originally scheduled for last summer, but the project was put on hold.  She said she has not heard of a new timeline for the repaint.

“I believe that is a natural thing that happens on this campus,” Gibbs said. “There’s a lot of projects and they get shifted around based on certain needs and priorities.”

The Art Sculpture Lab, or ASL, is in a similar situation in that the department is hopeful that updates to the building will be made this summer. However, Gibbs said nothing is currently set in stone.

“Documents have to be signed and permits have to be issued,” Gibbs said.

The updates for Kadema Hall and the ASL building would also address accessibility issues as well as health and safety concerns.

“At a minimum, we should expect the renovations to address any accessibility concerns,” Gibbs said. “The restrooms are not accessible and are in major disrepair. The front access of the building has ramps that are not up to code, as well as the wheelchair lift does not work.”

Many art students including art and music double major, Alexandra Lown, have strong feelings about these potential renovations for the ASL and Kadema Hall.

“They said they were going to renovate last winter,” Lown said. “So, I am not totally convinced yet.”

Lown believes that while the art program is strong and well-established, there is a lot that could be done to improve the department.

One of the most pressing issues Lown sees with Kadema Hall and the ASL is the lack of both work and storage space.

“We have incredible professors here and a really good staff, really good faculty,” Lown said. “I want them to be able to have the kind of classes that they want to have and be supported by their facilities, and sometimes they are kind of limited as to what they can do and what they can teach based on the funding that we have or the spaces that we have.”

Travis Boudreau – The State Hornet
Along the painted hallways of Kadema Hall, students attend art classes and show their artwork in the R.W. Witt Gallery. The gallery is set to be renamed the R.W. and Joyce Witt Gallery.

Heather Schlesinger, a junior and studio art major embraces being part of the art community on campus, but believes that renovations are long overdue and has thought of a list of refurbishments she would like to see made to the Art Sculpture Lab.

“We need new bathrooms. We need a spray booth. We need a new roof and we need a ventilation system,” Schlesinger said. “In the summer it is really, really hot in there. Miserably hot.”

Gibbs acknowledges that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to the art facilities and hopes to begin those renovations soon, but understands that like any big project, the process takes time.

“Facilities has been responsive with regard to questions,” Gibbs said. “It is just that there are a lot of unknowns because of the budget process. A lot of buildings suffer from a huge amount of deferred maintenance on campus. The art buildings aren’t the only ones.”