Art students are excited to leave Reynolds Building


B.F.A. senior Morgan Shipps works on a project in the Reynolds building in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher

By Will Wright | Assistant News Editor

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The move from a run-down warehouse to a renovated space has sparked both anticipation and nostalgia among art students who work in the Reynolds Building.

The building, which is about a block down from Tolly-Ho off of South Broadway, will no longer house the School of Art and Visual Studies.

The UK Board of Trustees gave the official go-ahead last week for a plan to improve buildings in the College of Fine Arts, which includes the Reynolds Building.

The School of Art and Visual Studies will move to the University Lofts on Bolivar Street, which is expected to open in the winter of 2014 or spring 2015, said Bob Wiseman, UK’s vice president for facilities management.

“I’m excited that I have an opportunity to move the program I teach to a new space,” said art professor Arturo Sandoval.

Sandoval, who has been teaching in the Reynolds Building for about 40 years, said he won’t be nostalgic when he leaves the Reynolds Building.

“Not when you move from a filthy building to one that’s cleaner,” he said. Students and faculty have said one of the faults of the Reynolds Building is poor air conditioning.

Rob Jensen, interim director of the School of Art and Visual Studies, said it would get so hot in the Reynolds Building that classes would have to be cut short.

The new building will be fully climate-controlled, he said.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Jensen said. “It’s going to be transformative.”

The Board of Trustees have budgeted $15 million to renovate the University Lofts, said Board Chair Britt Brockman last week.

The new building at University Lofts will be about 10,000 square feet larger than the Reynolds Building, Jensen said.

The studios will be facing one another, he said, which will allow students to interact and learn from each other.

The additional space will also house most UK Core art classes, which previously could not fit in the Reynolds Building.

Art studio senior Ivy Johnson said there are both positive and negative aspects to the Reynolds Building.

Johnson, who has a studio in the building, said she basically lives there.

“When I first walked in, I was really excited to use it because it looked like an arts building. But I quickly realized all its flaws.”

Though some students say the Reynolds Building is in bad shape, many enjoy the freedom that comes with the poor condition, Johnson said.

“We really don’t feel as bad about making a mess,” Johnson said. “We can do basically whatever we feel is necessary to make a piece and not worry that someone is going to be mad about it.”

Marketing junior Jonny Gorash said he likes the art building despite its bad reputation.

“You don’t have to be careful with it because it’s already run down,” Gorash said. “I like it better than the other sterile buildings that house the other colleges.”

Though some students like the freedom in the Reynolds Building, Johnson said she hopes a new building brings more students to the art program.

“Last time I was over there (University Lofts) looked a lot like Reynolds does now,” Johnson said. “But hopefully it will get more students into the art program.”

Jensen said the location of the Reynolds Building has also been one of the factors that made it unappealing.

Though the building on Bolivar isn’t much closer, he said it will feel like it.

“Students will actually enjoy the building more once they get in there,” Jensen said. “I think it’s going to be a really high energy place.”