By the late seventies it was generally agreed that the undergraduate art majors were not receiving the kind of basic background needed to support their work in advanced courses. The faculty decided that the conceptually oriented courses in the foundation program (advanced by professors Gasowski and Gillingwater) would no longer be required of all majors. The Introduction to Studio Art course became the basis for the new Intermedia area of concentration. Under the new core program, all art majors were required to complete three courses in design, color, one in drawing, and at least four courses in art history.
In 1983 it was agreed to use a new line to hire a studio foundations coordinator to supervise the teaching of all four core areas. The position was filled by Professor Mary Frisbee Johnson. Graduate teaching assistants--long on their own--were finally getting help. The situation improved even more in 1987 when a new faculty position for coordinator of beginning drawing courses was filled by Professor Janice Pittsley, thereby splitting the responsibility for basic studio instruction between two coordinators. The 1988-89 year was Professor Johnson's last who subsequently took a position in a different university.
During late 80s and early 90s, a conversation continued
within the School of Art concerning the issue of whether the Studio Core Foundation
area should be kept intact, or relegated to the area specialities.
The present Studio Core Coordinator responsible for courses in 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Color is Dan Collins. Professor Collins joined the faculty as a Visiting Artist during the 1989-90 year. Professor Collins attended area meetings to ascertain the views of faculty as to the content and direction the Core should take. A document entitled "A Report on the Status of the Core Foundation Program" was completed by Professor Collins during the Fall of 1989 and includes the current goals of the Studio Core Program as well as a detailed appendix of specific faculty recommendations. Professor Collins was hired in a tenure track position the following year (1990-91) and he continues to serve as Studio Core Coordinator.
Apart from shifts in pedagogical philosophy and personnel changes, the facilities made available to the Studio Core program have improved dramatically since 1989 with the Program's move to the Tower Center. In the summer of 1983 the school was told that the structure of the fine arts annex was so damaged by rot and termites that it could not be saved and would have to be demolished. Ten sections of foundation classes (along with faculty offices, Northlight Gallery, fifteen graduate studios) were displaced without any new facilities being made available. Eventually, foundation courses were spread across the entire campus with courses scheduled in the Ritter building near the graduate ceramic studios, in Krause Hall, and in the main School of Art Building. With the impending demolition of Krause Hall and the discontinued use by the School of Art of Ritter Building on the east side of campus during the 1989-1990 year, the Tower Center buildings were made available to the Studio Core. This new space in proximity to the main building of the School of Art was available due to the fact that the College of Architecture and Environmental Planning had just vacated the Tower and moved into their new building next door. The Tower Center includes two buildings shared with the Theater Department and a University radio station. The School of Art remodeled the upstairs of Tower "A" transforming a series of smaller offices into four class-room sized studios, a seminar room, and faculty offices. Two of these classrooms are currently utilized by the Core Program's 2-D and Color classes. Office space for the Graduate Teaching Assistants and the Studio Core Coordinator was made available on the first floor. 3-D Design, formerly housed in the main School of Art building, was moved into its new home on the second floor of Tower "B". In the Fall of 1997, 3-D was moved once again--this time to a ground floor room in Tower A. The move created more classroom space, storage, the potential for outdoor work areas, and enabled disabled student access.
During the 2000-2001 academic year, Taylor Harnisch
took responsibility for coordinating the Core program as Dan Collins served
as Interim Director for the Institute for Studies in the Arts that year. Professor
Collins returned to the Core Fall of 2001.
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