Bree Mays // THE CHIMES
(This story was originally published in print on Oct. 31, 2019).
Bardwell Hall was once full of chemistry labs, microscopes and cadavers, up until the sciences moved to the Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health in 2018. As of Oct. 21, renovations on the 60-year-old building will transform it into the art department’s new home. Both the inside and outside appearance will change drastically. The inside will be completed with studios, art galleries, offices and computer labs. The remodel of Bardwell Hall and the Bradley Annex will be finished by Fall 2020.
A PLACE WHERE ART CAN FLOURISH
Before the remodel, the art department was scattered throughout campus in buildings that stifled the energy needed to produce quality art. Along with those buildings, Bardwell emulated this same type of energy, according to senior studio arts major Addison Llanos. Both Bardwell and previous art buildings were riddled with outdated accents and noticeable aging.
“While we have made the best of what we have, I think that the facilities we have are not conducive to creativity,” Llanos said. “This remodel will provide ample space for studio work, as well as consolidating the multiple buildings we currently have into one.”
After the renovation, the main entrance will house a student art gallery, giving students the opportunity to showcase their talent to all who enter. The ceilings will be vaulted, and the interior will be tastefully modern. The many studios that will fill the building are: a painting studio, drawing studio, photo lighting studio, interdisciplinary studio and a new media studio. There are also plans for outdoor amenities such as a screened outdoor art yard, rooftop terrace and an outdoor exhibition and teaching space, making Bardwell an oasis for art majors and enthusiasts.
According to Brian Phillips, associate vice president of facility and auxiliary operations, the funding for renovations will not come from student tuition, but rather from the quasi-endowment and university’s budget surplus. The quasi-endowment is the university’s savings account.
For sophomore studio art major Julia Foxworth, the remodel will not only be extremely beneficial for current students, but will also make the arts program more interesting to prospective students. To her, the remodel reflects how the university feels about the arts, and how much of an effort they are making to prioritize art majors.
“I think it’s so refreshing to see a university not only take artistic endeavors seriously, but to give it a professional space in the center of campus,” Foxworth said in an email. “It’s comforting to know I attend a school that doesn’t overlook creative majors.”
A SCHOOL THAT CARES
Along with Foxworth, junior design major Piper Manthei also feels this remodel gives the arts more recognition, showing her that Biola cares just as much for their art students as they do for other majors.
“I think it’s time schools start noticing and putting money into their art departments equal to their science and sports, as we’re usually lost into the crowd,” she said in an email. “I’m proud of Biola for breaking down that wall.”
Students are not the only ones who are excited for the new and improved Barwell Hall, as Philips also expressed how eager he is to see the effects the remodel will make at Biola.
“We are excited to see how the art department will enrich an area of campus that is already such an active student hub,” he said.