UTPA Report: Visual Arts Center


POSTED: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 10:44am

UPDATED: Saturday, June 1, 2013 - 11:18am

After 40 years of sharing space with other departments on the UTPA campus, the art department now has a place to call home. Here's Sandra Quintanilla with this week's News Center 23 report.

This building on Closer Boulevard in Edinburg may look average to most of us from the outside, but behind these doors an explosion of creativity can be found in every room inside. It's The University of Texas-Pan American's new Visual Arts Center and UTPA administrators introduced it recently to the community along with students, faculty and staff during a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration. Guests learned about the state-of-the-art facility which consists of painting, art and sculpting studios, photography area, several computer and print labs and an art foundry, one of the few in South Texas where participants get to do bronze casting. Upcoming artist Xavier Castillo is excited and looking forward to the benefits this art center will bring.

Xavier Castillo, President of Artists Unanimous, "It’s definitely going to start raising the bar for art students. I know artists are getting more competitive within each other cause they're having to look at each other's art work all of the time so I think the art department is definitely going to be very strong within the next five to six years. "

Professor and chair of the art department Susan Fitzsimmons is excited as well. She says their area had outgrown their previous location on the main campus where they shared limited space with students and faculty from other communication fields.

Susan Fitzsimmons, Art Professor, "The department is over 40 years old and as you probably know we used to be in the same building with music and to some extent theatre and also scattered all over campus. So it was a dream of almost forty years that was realized when we were able to move to this new building."

During the ceremony, guests were also given tours of the facility and had the opportunity to view art exhibits on display. Dr. Fitzsimmons is hopeful this new art center will benefit not only her students but the entire Valley as well.

Susan Fitzsimmons, Art Professor, "I hope this can be the center where we would radiate out into the community. We're already starting and as you can see we developed many projects, and you know our goal is not to be isolated but to actually get art work into the community, to serve as an economic development tool for the communities here and as we graduate more students and we get more art into the community, it’s also an enticement for people to want to live here."

I'm Sandra Quintanilla reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.


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