The ASU Herberger Institute of Design and Arts has officially begun the process of moving the School of Art into its new space at the Levine Machine in the warehouse district of Downtown Phoenix.
Expanding the ASU Downtown Campus across the tracks, the art school will house five of its graduate programs inside the warehouse, a decision that has both students and the director of the art school excited.
“We’re going to have so much more space, so much more throughput,” said Adriene Jenik, director of the School of Arts. “The students will be together and there’s not another place that we could do this either as quickly or at the scale that we’re doing it.”
Jenik said the context of Downtown Phoenix is much different than the context of Tempe, and that it would positively impact students’ work.
“They have access to materials they wouldn’t otherwise have. They have access to other artists in a different way,” she said. “The kind of levels of ideas, the urban setting and the edginess of (downtown) is going to shift their work a fair amount.”
Walking through the space, which includes artists’ studios, a gallery, common area and more, is like walking through an artists’ playground. Leasing 26, 232 sq. ft. from owner-developer Michael Levine, art students have ample workspace, a crane at their disposal, an area to weld and the list goes on.
But see the facility for yourself. The School of Art is hosting a public opening this Friday Jan. 17. Coinciding with Third Friday festivities, the opening will include a studio tour and an exhibition of work by painting and drawing students.
Levine began renovations on the building in 2004 and has made sure to preserve as much of the building’s original structure and character as possible.
Read more from our partners at the Downtown Phoenix Journal about the history of the Levine Machine in Warehousing ASU’s School of Art: Part Two.
I interviewed a few art students in person and over email to ask them how they felt about the move downtown. Here’s what they had to say:
Provided by Kara Roschi
Roschi is a first-year graduate studying intermedia who lives in Tempe. She is also the co-owner of Practical Art, a retail and gallery space in Uptown Phoenix.
How do you feel about moving your art studio downtown?
I’m thrilled. When I think ‘art’ in the context of our Metro area, I think Downtown Phoenix. I think Phoenix Art Museum, The Heard, my shop Practical Art, the Roosevelt Row District and Combine Studios, Artlink’s First Friday Art Walk and Art Detour, Grand Avenue’s revitalization and the Melrose Curve, public art along the light rail and at Civic Space Park, the murals, experimental theater Space 55, improvisational work at The Torch Theater, the (Phoenix) Symphony (Hall), the Herberger (Theater)… I could really go on.
What sort of impact do you think the move will have on you as an artist?
With the graduate studios coming together in this kind of critical mass, I think being surrounding by everyone’s creative energies and ideas, being able to regularly see, question, and be questioned about one another’s work, will prove to be an asset to us all.
What impact do you think graduate art students can have on the culture and growth of downtown Phoenix?
Grant St. Studios will be a major hub that not only brings creative students, their work, and their appreciation for culture downtown, but with all of the public programming and openings Grant St will be offering, this space should be fairly exciting to the residents of the district. I’m particularly excited about the visiting artist lectures that will be hosted at the space beginning this semester. The sense of longevity and investment in a locale that ASU offers acts as a seed for an area. If folks know this is here and staying, they’re more likely to fill in around with complementary endeavors, businesses, and creative spaces.
What would you like to see happen next within the arts school, the warehouse district or downtown in general?
I’d love to see more of these integration points, cross-over between academia and the ‘outside world’. Now that the Herberger students will be downtown more regularly, being actively involved in community organizations related to our fields of study would be beneficial for both parties. It would bolster the whole scene, and bring interest to the kind of development that’s not about tearing down historic buildings or erecting parking structures, but the kind that is about further invigorating our culture, our core. The ball is rolling…
Photo by Brandi Porter
Ally Glowacki is a third-year graduate student studying drawing who lives in Tempe.
How do you feel about having your studio downtown?
It’s really exciting. Definitely a little apprehensive at first, because we’ve been on the Tempe campus for years… so it was definitely a little scary at first, but now that we’re in the space, it’s really great…
What do you think of the building?
The building is so cool. I love the whole loft feeling of it. The studios are huge, there’s plenty of room for new students coming in and the new Step Gallery looks great. It’s a lot bigger… we’ve been told to bring in extra big pieces because now we have room for it.
Do you think studying in Downtown Phoenix will impact your art?
I definitely think so. The more you see other people’s artwork, that’s definitely going to have an impact on what you do. I think it’s really going to help open the eyes of all the students here, who may not necessarily get a chance to go to other galleries as often. Since we’re here now, it’s going to be so much easier to go do that.
Do you think the energy is different downtown than in Tempe?
It’s a little bit more exciting here. It’s definitely different than the energy of being on campus in Tempe. Here, there’s much more of an art community so I think that in general is going to be very exciting.