A New Look for the Visual Arts

A new year means a new look, right? It’s the start of the fall semester and you want to change up your look to stand out and make an impression. However, your new hairdo and updated wardrobe aren’t the only transformations around campus. Just a few blocks downtown, across from Huntington’s Pullman Square, lays the home of Marshall’s brand new (more or less) Visual Arts Center. The VAC may appear to be a pretty new face around the city, but that’s just because the buildings had a little work done. Well, maybe more than a little. Marshall’s off campus addition was once the historic Anderson-Newcomb Co. building. Built in 1902, the building holds a coincidental tie with Marshall’s visual arts program which began that same year. 112 years later, with the help of a $13 million face lift, the building has never looked better. It has been transformed from a hometown landmark into a world-class visual arts facility.

The almost all new VAC is styled with designer furnishings such as Turnstone Buoy chairs, smart motion censored lighting, and much more. Alongside these new duds, the building had some physical alterations. On the main floor, a 2,200-square-foot gallery will be open to the public as well as a retail space, because who doesn’t like to shop? The six-floor building also gets a lovely view of Pullman Square and the downtown area. Even with all the new, the building still holds some Anderson-Newcomb CO. history. The original hardwood floors were kept and add a charming rustic look to the very modern interior.  Deep in the eerie basement of the building is a student work space. Here students may work on projects, study, or just hang-out and socialize. The location of the VAC gives students the opportunity to experience city life every day. It connects students with the community, and the community with the visual arts.

Classes have started and students and faculty have been busy in-and-out, but the VAC is not yet open to the public. The gallery space, along with all six floors, will be a part of the We ART Marshall grand opening exhibition. This inaugural exhibition will feature works from students, faculty, alumni, and friends of Marshall’s School of Art & Design. The gallery exhibition will run from September 18 – November 7 and be open weekdays 10am – 4pm.  An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 19, starting at 4pm. This will kick off We ART Marshall and be followed by community building tours. Those tours are something you might not want to miss because it could be your only chance to see the whole marvelous building and works exhibited on floors 2-6. Though the VAC is open to the public during business hours, there have been very secure measures taken to keep students and teaching areas safe.

Some students may never get to experience the lavish new addition to Marshall and the School of Art & Design, or even know that it upgraded from its old home at Smith Hall. But if you ever have some time to kill, take a walk down 3rd Avenue and pop in. The VAC Gallery and We ART Marshall exhibit will be worth that six block walk in the summer heat. You may find yourself inspired by the transformation, the art, or just that atmosphere. If you get there and feel like it was a waste of time, don’t worry, at least there’s a Starbucks on the corner across the street.