The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

Way down on MLK, visual art stands out

At first glance you might think UNC’s visual arts students get the short end of the stick.

You’d be wrong.

Sure, they have to buy their own paint and clay, and their art lab is farther down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard than Carolina North.

In fact, as a musician whose biggest inconvenience is having to re-rack stands after orchestra, I originally felt vicariously enraged for my fellow artists-in-arms when I heard where their art lab was.

Aren’t sculptors people too? Why not make the philosophy department hold their classes two miles north of campus?

But after I visited the art lab, I changed my mind. Every person I met there had a deep appreciation for the space and the community it provided.

To get from campus to the art lab, which is used by 60 to 100 students each semester for sculpture, ceramics and 3-D courses, it’s easiest to take the bus. Unfortunately for me, that meant hauling myself up to Rosemary Street and Columbia Street to catch the 7:41 a.m. NU — which came about 20 minutes late.

Yeah, that happens all the time, said several members of Kia Carscallen’s 8 a.m. Intro to 3-D Design class when I ran in, harried. In fact, the buses were rarely on time, they said. And though they said the art professors who taught at the lab were understanding about tardiness, my guess is their on-campus professors aren’t so nice.

Nevertheless, the 12 students who were seated casually around three big tables didn’t seem too annoyed.

In fact, these students looked much happier than those in any other 8 a.m. course I’ve seen.

“They should have a shuttle,” junior Andrew Amolegbe said, and the other students laughed.

“Yeah,” one repeated. “An art lab shuttle!”

Although he admitted that the distance was inconvenient, Amolegbe said he liked the lab’s location. “It’s a different atmosphere,” he said. “It’s less stressful.”

All of the students seemed at ease, drawn together for a common purpose: to create art.

At the beginning of the year, students in this class were assigned random materials to create a project out of, designing pieces made of toothpicks or even soap. Later, they learned how to use different wood saws to create frames.

The unfinished pieces stacked around the rooms displayed the range of the students’ work. Giant clay sneakers stood in a line waiting to be fired, and long metal spikes bent in the shape of a human-sized birdcage lay outside. A sign hanging from a candy sculpture read “Do not eat!”

As I walked through each room, I was increasingly aware of the uniqueness of the work that surrounded me.

Although my memories of the early alarm clock and frustrating bus ride weren’t fading, I began to understand the connection everyone seemed to have to this one-story building.

In fact, the students I talked to agreed that the biggest problem about the art lab was that it was really hard to find available classes there.

“I want to take a class here next semester,” said senior Christine Lin, “But it’s hard to get in, especially for non-majors.” Lin is studying biology.

This means that some of them will only be able to take one or two classes at the art lab. I guess that’s the real thing they have to complain about.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for March 7, 2022

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive