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Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2011

New IU Center for Art and Design dedicated in Columbus

Oct. 31, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Indiana University's newly created Center for Art and Design-Columbus (IUCAD) was dedicated today (Oct. 31) by IU President Michael A. McRobbie, the dean and faculty of the university's College of Arts and Sciences and Columbus, Ind., community leaders.

Indiana University Center for Art and Design

The new IU Center for Art and Design-Columbus (IUCAD)

Print-Quality Photo

Located in downtown Columbus, the center was created through a partnership between IU and the Community Education Coalition (CEC) of Columbus. It will specialize in teaching art and design.

The center's location in downtown Columbus will allow students, faculty and visitors to take part in the city's unique architectural, artistic and landscape heritage. Columbus will serve as a "living laboratory" for the study, evaluation and understanding of integrated design.

"Columbus provides myriad examples of integrated design, represented by more than 70 buildings and landscape spaces created by some of the world's most renowned architects and designers," McRobbie said. "The city's unique design heritage makes it an ideal location for exterior classroom of design study."

The university worked closely with the CEC on the project. The CEC's role is to expand educational opportunities in the city by integrating business and corporate resources with traditional public sector assets.

"The CEC's ability to provide the connections and pathways for the business community to overlap with the center will be invaluable in helping Columbus and the surrounding region benefit from the innovative design thinking strategies that the center will foster," McRobbie said.

IU's College of Arts and Sciences in Bloomington has provided faculty from the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design (AMID) to produce courses of study, analysis and production inspired by and related to the city. The college will administer the course programs, while the CEC has facilitated the development of a dedicated facility in the former Commons Mall at Third and Jackson streets downtown.

During the past half century, Columbus has emerged as a regional center known for architectural innovation and a commitment to the arts, thanks in part to the efforts of the late J. Irwin Miller, a Columbus community leader and longtime chairman of Cummins Engine Co. Columbus has been ranked the sixth-most significant city architecturally in the U.S. in a nationwide poll of members of the American Institute of Architecture, trailing only Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston.

"This is a great opportunity for our community. The IU Center for Art and Design-Columbus will bring unique and enhanced educational offerings along with added cultural life to Columbus through this partnership with a premier university," said Rick Johnson, president and CEO of Johnson Ventures Inc. and CEC board member. "The center also will bring economic opportunities to downtown businesses as they provide services for students and visitors. This is an important part of our community's strategy to revitalize downtown Columbus."

Columbus-based IU faculty members T. Kelly Wilson, who will serve as director for the center, and Kevin Lair will join the staff of the center, and additional IU faculty will collaborate with Wilson and Lair.

Students from IU's Bloomington campus are scheduled to travel to Columbus throughout the year for specific classes and projects developed to enhance existing curricula and to widen the students' comprehension of design. The center's long-term goal is to create a nationally and internationally recognized design program capable of attracting top students from across the country and from abroad.

The center will feature a studio, workshop and office space, as well as a 1,500-square-foot gallery that will showcase work from artists and designers from all disciplines. The first exhibit, "Fashioning a Legacy Irwin Sweeney Miller Style," will feature apparel from the Indiana University Sage collection. Curated by Kate Rowold, interim director of the IU Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, it will be on exhibit from Nov. 4 to Jan. 7, 2012.

The gallery will also be expected to exhibit the work of invited artists and designers and to create projects in collaboration with IU students and faculty.

"It is our long-range vision in alignment with our academic programs to create a robust and compelling designer residency project here in Columbus," Wilson said. "Such a program can provide an intersection between designers and artists and with our students and our community, creating the very moments of enlightenment and discovery."

John Burnett, chief executive officer of the CEC, said the idea of an art and design education center has been discussed for many years.

"Like so many other projects in our community, the creation of the IUCAD-Columbus is one of collaboration," he said. "Indiana University's dedication of this center is a result of many people and organizations coming together to serve students, businesses and the community."

Project partners include architect Louis Joyner and his firm; Indiana University; Irwin Sweeney Miller Foundation; Heritage Fund-Community Foundation of Bartholomew County; Cummins Foundation; Arvin Gift Fund; Johnson Ventures; Columbus Redevelopment Commission; Community Education Coalition; and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.