Renovations completed at UW-Superior’s Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center
While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many things at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and around the world, several renovations underway at the Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center were still able to be completed. Projects included updating gallery spaces, expanding and updating classrooms and improving access.
One of the largest projects was renovating a highly visible space on the second floor adjacent to the main entrance.
“The new project gallery allows us to send a message to visitors that this is a building for art – right as they walk through the doors,” said Anne Dugan, UW-Superior senior lecturer of visual arts. “The permeable window allows for people to see into the space and enjoy the art anytime – reminding that art should be accessible and available to all who seek it out.”
To create the project gallery, three storage and administrative spaces were renovated. The new space includes a see-through glass display case off the entry to showcase artwork in this high-traffic area of the building.
“Having this additional gallery gives us the ability to host student, faculty and community exhibitions at a professional level and allows us to showcase the immense talent that these walls hold in a manner that is at the same level,” said Dugan.
The new gallery space replaced the former third floor location, which was converted during this renovation to a new large reconfigurable classroom. This was a much-needed addition to the Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center, which previously was limited to smaller-capacity classrooms.
On the third floor, three underutilized spaces were converted into a larger, configurable art education classroom with a Smartboard and space that emulates educational facilities that students will work in after graduation.
The previous media lab was moved to a new location that’s larger with more work stations and active learning capabilities. The new space includes windows to the main hallway to better showcase student work.
Additional projects involved the building’s only sloped classroom. The old projection room was removed to accommodate additional, handicap-accessible seating. Two rows of fixed seating were also taken out to provide a center aisle, which allows easier and safer access to seating. In addition, walls were removed at the front of the classroom to provide a more open instructional space.
“The faculty and staff of the Communicating Arts Department are particularly excited about the renovations to the media lab and the backstage area known as the Green Room,” said Brent Notbohm, UW-Superior professor of film and video and chair of the department of communicating arts. “These essential spaces are now more functional and user friendly for both on-stage and on-screen student productions created in the theatre and digital filmmaking program.”
The Theater Green Room was remodeled and reconfigured into two adjacent spaces that better serves students during performances in Manion Theater. The new layout allows for separate spaces for quick costume changes and provides amenities including a new mirrored makeup counter.
“My top two favorites are an actual kitchenette and a backstage, fully equipped make-up area,” said Cathy Fank, UW-Superior professor of theatre. “The make-up area allows actors to check and adapt without having to go downstairs to the costume shop.”
The kitchen area in the updated Green Room allows additional efficiency to stage productions.
“Oftentimes in theatre, we have food items and dishes that need to be washed and we had nowhere to do that,” said Fank. “We also have a full-size refrigerator and a microwave. These were much-needed items and we are grateful to have them.”