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Preserve and Restore the Visual Arts Building, aka The Art Barn

We demand that the administration at the University of Texas at Dallas reassess the razing of the Visual Arts Building (aka the Art Barn) WITH proper student input and consideration. With the razing of the Art barn we will lose

1) UTD’s ‘legendary’, culturally historic, AIA award winning Arts Facility. The legacy of the Visual Arts Building has contributed to housing the artistic energy and education of so many students who have gone on to professionally successful careers in the arts and other related creative field. For many the ‘Art Barn’, as it is affectionately known, is the most memorable experience of their UTD education. For 35 years it has significantly contributed to the development of the contemporary arts scene in North Texas and has become a branded identity, showcasing legions of progressive artists. With the wonderful, new O’Donnell building absorbing classroom space, the Visual Arts Building can now more fully exercise its potential as a central cultural hub- housing a Professional Gallery Exhibition Space, a New Media Installation and Performance Venue and Creative Research Studios with sculpture lab and printmaking, which otherwise do not exist in the New facility nor on this campus. Culture is Capital!

2) A Gallery Space. The gallery space in the new Edith O‘Donnell Building is much reduced and very constricted compared to the capacity the Visual Arts Building offers. Without this additional space, controlled access potential for sensitive or contextual content, security, atmospheric and material demands along with spatial proximity, chances for exhibitions and student representation will pass by, depriving the school campus and the larger community of the culture other competitive universities provide.

3) Studio Space. The well designed, open and more causal and laidback atmosphere of the Art Barn afforded by the wear of time allows for the creative expression and unconventional yet critical research that often generates something beautiful, profound, and innovative. Without this freedom of expression and exploration through the flexibility afforded, prospects for original concepts die. What will be lost in the wake? Can we still attract those talents that make for diverse colleagues and provide a healthy ecosystem for truly creative exploration and enterprise!

4) Sculpture and Printmaking Studio. In the digital age among the top universities we are seeing a renewed curiosity about humanity, materiality and all things physical simply because much of the world has lost track of them. Much is lost when thinking with ones hands is delegated to a finger click. The loss of the physical arts such as sculpture and printmaking will put students at a great disadvantage in understanding the nature of form, process, material and design where informed innovation is evolving in tandem with digital capabilities.

5) A vision for the future. Paintings on cave walls present a part of the past that brought about our current present. In the University’s journey to becoming a tier-one research institution, it is important to remember the value of vision as well as history. Artists and art, from DaVinci sketches of the first flying machine to the technology in science fiction literature transforming into reality, give us a vision to follow that creates future. If The University of Texas at Dallas wishes to keep heading into the future, the Art Barn can be the place to encapsulate and visualize that future we wish to create together.

****There has been no input allowed by the administration into students’ wants, needs, and concerns with the current course of action. There have been no communications as to the real deficiencies of the building, nor recourse of second professional opinions, nor cost estimates to resolve such. We request that the administration readdress our grievances registered with this petition in hopes that students and administration can unite together within the terms of negotiation. Because without art, we are animals. #armsaroundthebarn #utdartbarnfanclub #savetheartbarn

This petition was delivered to:
  • President University of Texas at Dallas
    Dr. David Daniel


    Cynthia Saathoff started this petition with a single signature, and now has 428 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.