Richmond Center for the Arts
On March 9, 2007 Western Michigan University officially opened and dedicated the James W. and Lois I. Richmond Center for Visual Arts to the public. Named for philanthropists James and Lois Richmond, this exciting venue is a major cultural asset for WMU, southwest Michigan and the Midwest.
The Richmond Center was designed by the architecture and engineering firm SmithGroup Inc. of Detroit. CSM Group of Kalamazoo was the construction manager for the project.
The building contains 44,000 square feet on three floors. The first floor houses four galleries:
- Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery, for rotating exhibitions
- Rose Netzorg and James Wilfrid Kerr Gallery, for special exhibits and the University Art Collection
- Eleanor R. and Robert A. DeVries Student Art Gallery, for students and alumni
- Atrium Gallery for video and sound
The first floor also houses a multimedia classroom, the print collection resource room, the director of exhibitions office and exhibition workrooms. The second floor houses the main offices for the Frostic School of Art, the student lounge and a large tiered, multimedia lecture room. The third floor is home to the graphic design program and houses the Design Center for Education and Research, a conference room with digital flat screen projection, faculty offices, the graphic design classroom with digital projection, B.F.A. studio, and a critique space designed for installations and collaborative group projects. In addition it houses the College of Fine Arts Resource Center and Print Center.
Construction of the Richmond Center was phase one of a two-part effort to relocate the School of Art from several old and outdated locations on campus—Sangren Hall, Knollwood Building and East Hall. Phase two was the renovation of the south bar of Kohrman Hall, vacated by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2003, as classroom, office, and studio space. The two buildings, the Richmond Center and South Kohrman Hall, connect on the second floors to form the Frostic School of Art.
South Kohrman Hall
In January 2008, classes and studios for the Frostic School of Art met for the first time in the newly renovated south bar of Kohrman Hall. The 88,000 square foot, two-story space is now home to faculty offices and upgraded warehouse-sized studio spaces for art education, painting, photography and intermedia, printmedia, sculpture, metals/jewelry, art education and foundation art coursework.
Designed by SmithGroup Inc. of Detroit, the same group of architects who designed the Richmond Center, the renovation also includes flexible, multimedia classrooms and critique spaces, open studios for students and sophisticated mechanical systems for maintaining a healthy environment and providing safe disposal of art wastes.
Four critique spaces provide space for impromptu discussions of student projects. All critique areas are designed to facilitate digital projection, installations, and performance art, while providing flexible spaces for interdisciplinary collaborations.
The two buildings, the Richmond Center and Kohrman Hall, connect on the second floors to form the Frostic School of Art.
The Design Center has been an operating curricular component of the Graphic Design Program for almost 40 years. The Intern course structure offered in the Design Center is a unique capstone experience. Currently each student enrolls in Intern I for three credit hours in Fall semester and Intern II for six credit hours in Spring semester. There are 20 senior student interns divided into two sections. The Design Center is directed by one full-time faculty member, and is staffed with a part-time production manager, and an office associate during the academic year. The Center has a dedicated space with state-of-the-art technology and operates as a design studio in the practice.
Through the Design Center we provide a curriculum with goals for students to make the transition between education and practice in graphic design. While focusing on professional practice we maintain the philosophy of experimentation and design process. The students work with the creative director of the Design Center and focus on creative collaborations with peer student designers. By working on actual design projects from concept to completion they gain experience for their future in the design profession. They learn communication with clients, writers, printers, computer programmers for website and interactive design development, paper companies and others connected to the design and production process.
Projects are taken based on educational merit and the clients are from non-profit organizations in the University, Kalamazoo, and regional communities. We develop exciting partnerships with our clients who support our philosophy of research, analysis, exploration, and discovery that allows us to recommend a variety of design solutions for the intended audience. Clients do not pay a design fee but pay for materials, digital production, printing and any services necessary for completion of the project. Our partnership is based on an exchange with the community for students to gain professional experience and to build their final portfolio. Clients sometimes make donations to assist with our New York Professional Development Experience or for our equipment needs.
Computer labs and technology
Each of our computer labs is unique and serves a specific purpose. All computer labs are outfitted with the latest hardware and software. There is at least one open lab in each of the College of Fine Arts buildings. The other labs are specific to students within a scheduled course or major. Access to the computers is accomplished by logging in with your BroncoNet ID. To learn about all available labs within the College of Fine Arts, hours and locations please visit the College of Fine Arts Technology website.
- Photography and intermedia lab (K2309 South Kohrman Hall)—The photography and intermedia lab is available to students learning photography and video. It is also for students learning visual communication and for graphic design classes. Computers are outfitted for image and video editing, the full Adobe Creative Suite and special printers for photographs or other digital media needs.
- Open Lab (K2309 South Kohrman Hall)—The Open Lab is available for all students to use while not in class. The open lab portion of the classroom has large format and photo scanners as well as color and black and white laser printers.
- Print media lab (South Kohrman Hall)—This lab is for students enrolled in all printmedia classes for the creation of digital imagery and photomechanical transparencies.
- College of Fine Arts Resource Center (R3109 Richmond Center)—The Resource Center is available for students to use when not in class. It is not used for scheduled classes. It is a full-service lab with color and black and white laser printers, scanners and musical keyboards.
- Graphic Design Classroom (R3113 Richmond Center)—This space is for graphic design students and has 20 docking stations with large monitors for student laptops that are a required purchase when entering the program. The classroom is set up for both traditional wet media and digital media. It is adjacent to the Resource Center with color and black and white laser printers and the Print Center that houses all plotters and specialty printers.
- Design Center—The Design Center is a classroom with 10 state-of-the art computer workstations. It is set up as a full service studio with a scanner and color and black and white laser printers. It is used for i†ntern class projects completed for the University and non-profit organizations in the regional community.
The Frostic School of Art woodshop features a wide selection of woodworking machinery, equipment and hand tools to support students and faculty in their artistic endeavors. Currently enrolled Art students are granted use of the facility upon completion of the requirements for access.