Art department in transition

The Art Department faculty began relocating to their offices from their former site at Neuberger Hall to their new facility on Southwest Fifth Avenue as of December, 2002. Due to the timing of the move, some faculty members are still relocating.

Portland State University purchased the former Art Institute of Portland building in the summer of 2002 to the tune of $2.6 million.

“Since it was an art building before, in many ways it made sense to put the Art Department there,” said Jay Kenton, Vice Provost of Academic Personnel and Budget.

Repairs, upgrades and renovations, to such items such as a reworked elevator added $800,000-$900,000 to the bill. By December, the bulk of the work had been completed and classrooms were later opened for students.

What some students found was that facilities within the building were not ready for use.

“As a transfer student I expected to have adequate facilities when I came to PSU, but I found that the [Art] Department seemed very unprepared for the transition into the new building,” said one recently enrolled art student. “Not that the building doesn’t have the potential to be a great facility, it was just a premature move.”

Regardless of grievances, most involved in the Department see the benefits of the new location.

“Most problems in the move come with being in two places at one time, but most professors and students seem to understand,” maintained the head of the Art Department, Michihiro Kosuge.

“This move is a step in the right direction,” Kosuge said. “Every year we want to improve. What we offer with classes and what we have as facilities are important.”

One faculty member echoed Michihiro’s statement.

“The transition has been good and easy,” said Joe Macca, professor of Art. “I think ultimately it will be good. It will just take time for everybody to know where we have gone.”