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University News

Art in the Halls

Summer project enlivens Calcia Hall lockers

Posted in: Arts

Student decorating Calcia locker.

Anyone entering Calcia Hall is in for a colorful surprise, thanks to a summer art installation project that has revitalized the banks of lockers lining its hallways.  

“While we await next summer’s scheduled renovation of Calcia hallways, it seemed like a great idea to leverage what we are best at – creativity – to perk up the building with an art installation,” says Department of Art and Design Chair Livia Alexander. “The project offered the added benefit of giving our students hands-on experience working on the installation. They did a terrific job for all to enjoy.”

The project was a true collaboration between faculty, staff and students, who had the opportunity to work as a team to experience firsthand what it takes to get a job done within a set time frame. “The students loved working on it and take pride in their work – and in their environment,” says Visual Arts Workshop Manager and Adjunct Professor Gary Fredriksen.

While the idea to paint the lockers was Fredriksen’s brainchild, Art and Design Adjunct Professor Wendy Letven created the designs for individual lockers. With Alexander’s approval, a team of product design students was hired to execute the project under Letven’s guidance.  

“It’s so important to have students’ input as much as possible,” says Letven. “Student Sam Falzone suggested a color palette based on the brightly colored chairs in the classrooms. He did a nice mockup and I did a few more digital sketches using those colors.”

Students, according to Fredriksen, were involved in the installation from concept to completion, beginning in mid-July and wrapping up the last week of August. “I was able to take part in nearly every step of this process because it was so collaborative,” reports product design major Nicholas Scudillo.

Working against a tight deadline, students followed a strict process that began with making design adjustments on the computer, testing designs by cutting out templates and placing them on the lockers, which had been sanded and readied for painting.

“It’s a beautiful thing seeing all the steps of the process. After approval, we rolled up our sleeves and got to it,” says product design major Falzone. “Lockers were sanded, tape and stencils went up, and paint rained down.”

Painting began on August 17. “We used a direct to metal primer and the rest was painted with acrylic paint,” Letven says. “We used a paint gun to get a smooth, brushless look.”

“Peeling the tape off was so satisfying,” says Falzone. “I’m proud of the project because I believe we created an environment the art students can be proud of. The facelifts should surely inspire and motivate students.”

Scudillo is just as pleased with the results, which have transformed lockers that he describes as “eyesores” into works of art. “I anticipate a great response from my peers this semester when they see the lockers for the first time,” he says. “They all pop and I think they’ll leave many students with smiles as they walk through Calcia.”  

Letven would love to see students involved in other projects like this. “I think it’s a brilliant idea to ask art and design students and teachers to design their own spaces whenever possible,” she says. “It’s clear now from the moment you walk into Calcia Hall that exciting creative work will be done in this building.”