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Hartford Art School Marks 'Beginning of a New Future'
President Walter Harrison (left) with Renée and Bob Samuels, who have pledged the lead gift for the new Renée Samuels Center at the Hartford Art School.
(l-r) Louise McCormick, president of the HAS Board of Trustees; Margaret Corie Darby, chair of the Campaign for the Hartford Art School; and HAS Dean Power Boothe at Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony.
“This is a day that many of us have thought about and dreamed about for a long, long time,” said University President Walter Harrison. “Today the University and the Hartford Art School mark the beginning of a new future that will benefit generations of students.”
The 15,000-square-foot, two-story addition will be known as The Renée Samuels Center, named for the longtime Art School supporter, trustee and University regent. Renée Samuels and her husband, Bob Samuels, have pledged the lead gift of $1 million for the project.
This new arts and technology center will allow students to explore the vast potential of digital technology in a space that promotes interaction among a variety of artistic disciplines. The center, which is scheduled for completion in February 2007, will house two growing programs of the Hartford Art School – photography and media arts. Expanded and renovated space will also allow the painting and drawing department, the printmaking department, and the foundation studies program to continue to excel.
“More space has become critical,” said Renée Samuels, “not only for our traditional disciplines, but also for the explosion in the digital media arts.”
The addition will also serve an aesthetic function, providing an attractive new facility in the heart of the campus, right next to the gleaming new Integrated Science, Engineering, and Technology (ISET) complex.
“It’s going to make a great art school look like a great art school,” said HAS Dean Power Boothe.
Boothe and other speakers at Tuesday’s ceremony praised the current and former HAS and University leaders who have been working for more than a decade to bring the dream of a modern new facility for the Art School to fruition. Speakers also noted the cooperation and involvement of many different departments of the University in making the project a reality.
“This project has been a wonderful cooperative effort,” said Louise McCormick, president of the Art School Board of Trustees and a University regent. “It meets very real needs and it promises great things for the future of the University and the Hartford Art School.”
Margaret Corie Darby, a regent and Art School trustee who chairs the fundraising campaign for the $5 million project, said that the Hartford Art School faculty has committed to 100 percent participation in the campaign. To date, the campaign has raised about $3.3 million.
McCormick and Darby have been among the driving forces of the Art School addition, together with Herman Fonteyne, a regent and Art School trustee who chairs the building committee for the project. Speakers also thanked Austin Dunham Barney II, former president of the Art School Board of Trustees, for helping lay the foundation for The Renée Samuels Center.