Indiana State University Newsroom



Fine Arts Building rededicated after $15 million renovation

November 12, 2019

Indiana State University officials, students and dignitaries braved the unseasonably frosty weather Tuesday to rededicate the renovated Fine Arts Building.

The facility, constructed in 1939, is “lighter and brighter” after $15 million worth of improvements, said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Chris Olsen, but it’s more importantly a vastly improved teaching space.

“The design team included faculty from the very first meetings when we were talking about the spaces,” Olsen said. “The new teaching spaces reflect that fact. They now allow for the best practices in teaching these areas, and it means the learning experiences are so much better in many, many ways — too many ways to list, in fact.”

State Sen. Jon Ford said he was proud to have played a role securing the funding.

“The Indiana General Assembly believes in Indiana State University, and while we celebrate the legislature’s confidence, I know no one here takes for granted that confidence,” Ford said.

Artwork by alumni Marquise Gibbs and Zachary Moore, and faculty member Nancy Nichols-Pethick, is featured in the facility.

“When we have the opportunity to celebrate an event like this, it’s good to refocus our attention on why buildings like this matter,” ISU President Deborah Curtis said. “It matters because this new learning and teaching space is what we need to provide to our amazing students and faculty.”

Renovations began in May 2018 and wrapped up this fall. Upgrades include new mechanical and electrical systems to improve temperature control, air quality and access to technology. A new glass atrium and entry allows natural light to flood into the building. A new elevator was installed. The original and extraordinary building finishes were restored.

Construction projects like this also help fuel the economy by providing work for skilled laborers, Ford said.

“ISU trustees and administrators are good stewards of the tax dollars,” Ford said. “We know ISU’s faculty and staff are working hard in helping our kids be successful in these critical years of college life. We believe ISU graduates are going to be successful … and live and work in Indiana.”

The renovated Fine Arts Building maintains its historic essence. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended the building’s dedication in March 1940.

"In this building, we’re fortunate to have some of the best of our faculty inspiring and working with students … to create new knowledge and new pieces of art and music to feed the soul,” Olsen said. 

The Fine Arts building serves thousands of students in programs such as music business, music education, art appreciation, printmaking and graphic design. Alumni are reknowned around the country, Olsen said.

Indiana State students Paige Kimbrew and Natalee Link, both seniors in the intermedia program, recalled how they were fortunate to see the building in its original, transitional and final form.

The women promoted the current art exhibits, including the digital art exhibit in the Turman Gallery, the WPA works display in the art department conference room and the Large Abstract Color exhibition on display in the University Art Gallery in the Landini Center.

The facility is also home to the Community School of the Arts, which grew exponentially since its creation a few years ago “in spite of its location” on the upper floors, Olsen said. It’s now front-and-center on the ground level.

“It’s a community service, but it’s also a teaching opportunity for many of our university students and one of the many ways that our division of University Engagement helps make the wider Wabash Valley a more delightful place to live,” Olsen said.

The event featured talent nurtured in the building -- the School of Music and art department. Sycamore Singers performed acapella, and ISU Inferno Saxophone Quartet provided reception music as guests toured the art exhibits and installations.

Speakers thanked Gov. Eric Holcomb; Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers; state Rep. Holli Sullivan; retired state Rep. Clyde Kersey; state Rep. Bob Heaton; state Rep. Alan Morrison; retired state Sen. Luke Kenley; state Rep. Tim Brown; Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett; and Greg Miller of ArcDESIGN.

“ISU is blessed with remarkable partners to transform these buildings into a 21st century educational space,” Curtis said.

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Photos: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-pHWXnW8/0/X3/i-pHWXnW8-X3.jpg -- ISU Vice President for Student Affairs Andy Morgan and College of Health and Human Services Dean Caroline Mallory talk as they tour the digital art exhibit in Turman Gallery during the rededication of the Fine Arts and Commerce Building on Tuesday.

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-ThZ8vQL/0/X3/i-ThZ8vQL-X3.jpg -- ISU President Deborah Curtis provides comments during the rededication program Tuesday at the Fine Arts and Commerce Building.

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-5PHjNRf/0/X3/i-5PHjNRf-X3.jpg -- Indiana State students Paige Kimbrew, left, and Natalee Link, both seniors in the intermedia program, provide comments during the rededication program Tuesday at the Fine Arts and Commerce Building.

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-ZMN2hBw/0/X3/i-ZMN2hBw-X3.jpg -- Sycamore Singers perform Tuesday at the rededication of the Fine Arts and Commerce Building.

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-M7W8PSb/0/X3/i-M7W8PSb-X3.jpg -- ISU Inferno Saxophone Quartet perform as guests tour the art exhibits and installations and enjoyed refreshments Tuesday during the rededication of the Fine Arts and Commerce Building.

Media contact:

Mark Alesia, director of university communication

(O) 812-237-3837

(C) 812-229-8020

mark.alesia@indstate.edu

Follow the Twitter feed of University Communication: @IndStU_News

Story Highlights

Renovations began in May 2018 and wrapped up this fall. Upgrades include new mechanical and electrical systems to improve temperature control, air quality and access to technology. A new glass atrium and entry allows more natural light.

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