The New Building on the Block
THE SANTA CLARA
September 22, 2016
After years of cramming students and classes in the recently renamed Alameda Hall on Market Street, Santa Clara University’s Art Department finally has some breathing space and its first impressions are indeed rather breathtaking.
The Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building, com- pleted this summer, welcomed students into its expansive hallways for the first time this week.
The 43,000 square-foot, three-story facility now contains learning spaces for 3D and 2D art, as well as rooms for art history classes—thus finally bringing together the Studio Art and Art History programs under the same roof.
But what will certainly catch the breath of any visitor entering the new Dowd building is its real star: the “Persian and Horn Chandelier,” a massive hanging glass sculpture created by famed Washington-based artist Dale Chihuly.
With its bright red and gold petals and twisting tendrils each individually crafted—the sculpture draws viewers—and gasps of wonder—with its hundreds of pieces, all dangling overhead from four delicate wires.
“It reminds me of underwater life, the movement and grace of it,” art professor Kelly Detweiler said to The Santa Clara Magazine.
Even though classes have only just begun, the new art building already has a lot of fans among professors and students. Max Sims, who teaches the course 3D Animation and Design, particularly loves the two new computer labs.
“We could only run a limited number of classes because I only had one computer lab and now we have two. There’s now a plethora of space,” Sims said.
Additionally, Sims said he believes the upgraded technology throughout the building will “reduce frustration” among both students and faculty.
Junior Lauren Bell, an Art and Art History double major, is relieved that she will have more time to work on her pieces because her studies are now housed under one roof.
“I can go straight from my art history class to the studio and all my professors will be in the same building to provide me with critique when I ever I need it,” she said.
She also looks forward to no longer dealing with the quirks of the old building, which was famously inhabited by rats and raccoons, among other wildlife.
“The old art building was cramped and creepy. It also just smelled bad all the time—like old people,” said Bell with a chuckle.
The big move from Market Street to Franklin Street places the Art and Art History building much closer to the other Fine Arts departments on campus, such as the theatre, dance and music buildings. And as Detweiler believes, this new location will change the perception of the arts on campus. “The building is going to bring (in) a lot more people… it brings the arts to the forefront,” he said.