Issues in the art department

Jacob Waring – Reporter

Students and faculty said the art department needs repairs, focus and funding to operate efficiently for students in the department.

Terrence Lavin, art department chairperson, said that the art gallery in Buley Library is an example of an area that the university could do better in.

According to the Actual University Expense report, the art department’s FY2018 actual other expenses are $13,036 and the FY2018 art lab fee actual expenses are $58,111.The total revenue for the school to distribute is $213,265,237,

Lavin said that the department has zero budget to run the art gallery and that it would be beneficial to have a full-time person dedicated to the gallery, with that as their area of expertise.

He said he recognizes the fact that financial pressure and prioritizing where funding goes is always tricky.

According to Robert Prezant, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Southern would have to get permission from Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to hire anyone in an unavailable position, and especially for a position that has not existed or been vacant for years. “The hiring freeze is for new positions that we’ve not had before, so if I wanted to hire a director of the space force, because we’ve never had one of those before,” he said.

A permanent director of the gallery was proposed in a faculty senate resolution but was ultimately rejected by President Joe Bertolino. He gave his reason for the rejection in the resolution.

“The administration supports the gallery,” Bertolino wrote.

“However, the university is not in a financial position to hire a gallery director or provide additional reserves. The dept. is encouraged to explore creative eternal partnerships and grants to achieve this goal.”

A lack of a gallery director is only one of department’s concerns. Earl Hall is deteriorating to where it is potentially disrupting the educational flow, according to Lavin.

“We have massive problems with roof leaks, other technical issues… our space needs are completely incongruous with the building that we have”, said Lavin.

Jonathan Geraldino, a senior and art education major, gave his response on the state of Earl Hall.

“Once you turn on all the sinks and stuff, it takes a very long time to drain down, and this isn’t up to par with the kind of cleaning that we do with the brush and the paints,” said Geraldino.

He said his biggest complaint was about the paintings being damaged due to leaks from rain. Artwork gets ruined, machinery is soaked and repairs are needed he said. “One day of a lot of rain, and everything is ruined,” Geraldino said.

The windows need to be addressed and he said he does not think the university would resolve those issues anytime soon.

Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations, said the issues are being addressed.

He said that they are testing a solution to fix the issues of the windows flooding. He said whether the solution is worthwhile to apply to the entire building of Earl Hall is dependent upon initial testing. Sheeley said that testing just one section to may not work.

“I just signed a requisition to come up with what I hope would be a solution to the leaks that occur on the outside of the buildings. We’re going to be doing one section of the building to see how that works,” said Sheeley. “[To replace] the window wall, which is all the exterior of Earl Hall, you’re looking at two and a half million dollars, not cheap, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.”

Photo Credit: Jacob Waring

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