FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2009
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW Art & Design Building dedicated
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- After much anticipation, the restored Art & Design Building at Mississippi University for Women has opened its doors. A dedication took place Wednesday, March 25 at 5 p.m. .
The facility has come a long way from the day it and several other
campus buildings were struck by a tornado in 2002.
Nora Miller, vice president for finance and administration said, “The
completion of the Art and Design building marks the last step of
recovery from that tornado.”
She explained that the initial phase of the project, repairs to the
exterior of the building, was completed in July 2005 at a cost of $3.2
The remainder of the project was delayed pending resolution of
eligibility for certain repairs and improvements to the building. In the
meantime, the MUW Foundation provided bridge funding from a line of credit, which the university repaid as the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements were received. Cost increases related to post-Katrina construction added to the problems with the initial project budget.
In August 2007, FEMA provided technical assistance to review these
claims, resulting in the status of this project being changed to an
improved project, and FEMA approved a project budget increase of $1.8 million, with funding available from state general obligation bonds.
Despite the challenges, faculty, students and staff in the department
agree that their new dwelling was worth the wait.
Robert Gibson, department chair, said, “Our facility is probably one
of the best in the state in relations to square footage, studio space
and dedicated space. We’ve almost tripled our studio space from the
old location in Shattuck.”
The building also features a beautiful gallery space and new home for
the permanent collection.
Gibson recalls for the first time in the 20 years he has been teaching
that all of the disciplines are under one roof, noting the department
offers all disciplines in visual art.
Currently, there are about 90 students in the program, according to
Gibson, who anticipates a 10-15 percent growth in the next academic
Students also are excited about their new abode.
Aneesha Baldeosingh, a senior studio art major from Trinidad and
Tobago, said, “When we were in Shattuck, our photography classes used to be over in Cromwell, but now that we have our lab in the same
building, it’s so much better and more convenient for all us.”
Baldeosingh is enjoying the new painting studio for their advance
“It’s difficult to choose a favorite feature, but I might have to say the art gallery is one of them and hope others can come by and
experience it when they get the chance.”
Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For
more information, contact the Department of Art and Design at (662)
329-7341 or email Alex Stelioes-Wills, gallery director, at