New art building good for UM students

Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL / Managing Editor

It’s no secret the University of Montevallo has a fantastic art program.

Rarely does a month pass before I hear about a new program or exhibit that grabs my attention. From anagama kilns to the history of comic books, I’m guaranteed to find a good story when I hear from UM.

That’s why I was so excited to find out a new art building is being constructed on campus.

I’ve visited UM’s current art building. It’s nothing to scoff at, but it wasn’t intended to be used for art projects and the like. When university officials prepared to renovate the building, they found that it had major structural flaws and it would be easier to start from scratch.

“All of these improvements together will provide better space for ceramics, taller ceilings, new wood shops and better teaching space,” said Scott Stephens, interim dean of the college of fine arts. “We are excited. Everyone is aware of the great potential.”

The university plans to use funds from a bond issue to pay for the construction, while a donation from UM alumni Conrad and Barbara Blackerby will provide new art equipment.

With close to 300 students in the art department, I can’t think of a better use for those funds. The art department is one of the largest at the university and includes students in art education, art history, ceramics, drawing, foundation, graphic design, new media, painting, photography, print making and sculpture.

“Our art building should live up to the level of talent on campus. Our students deserve this space, and so do the faculty,” said John W. Stewart III, UM president.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Katie McDowell is the Managing Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at