If you walk past the apex of the University of Washington quad at the end of this academic year, you will notice a buzz of construction activity in and around the Art Building. After years of planning, feasibility studies, and engagement with University leadership and the community, critical renovations to School of Art + Art History + Design spaces will commence in late June 2022.
As part of the larger Arts Capital Campaign, which also includes renovations to the Music Building, these critical updates and enhancements to our arts spaces reflect the University’s deep commitment to the role of the arts on campus and beyond.
“In many ways, the arts stand at the pinnacle of the human aspirations that make for a great university — the intersection of mind and spirit, heart and imagination, body and soul. Through the visual and performing arts, students explore both their commonalities and differences, and become deeply enriched as citizens and as human beings.” // Mark Richards, UW Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
The School of Art + Art History + Design is a hub of arts teaching, creative practice, and arts engagement on the UW campus. Its Jacob Lawrence Gallery — named after the preeminent 20th century American artist and UW Art professor — is a space that celebrates expansive forms of artistic expression, welcomes diverse voices, and fosters conversations about injustice and needed change. The gallery is a tangible, living legacy of Lawrence’s exemplary life and practice. But, until now, it’s been a relatively hidden space on campus, tucked away in the north corner of the Art Building.
The Arts Capital Campaign will change that. After almost 70 years with no significant updates to the physical spaces in the Art Building, this project will relocate the Jacob Lawrence Gallery to make it more accessible from the quad and enliven the existing Solomon Katz courtyard with gallery programming that will encourage students and the community to congregate.
This relocation and the corresponding studio classroom, lab, and shop moves / renovations will draw more people into the gallery and School, expand campus and community engagement with the gallery’s important programming, and prepare our vital arts spaces to support boundary-pushing art for years to come.
After a thorough selection process, the design build team of GLY + Mithun has been selected to take on the renovation of the Art Building. These firms have extensive experience developing creative spaces for study, work, and exhibition. Architectural design is underway, and the current timeline shows on-site work to begin in late June 2022 with a move into the new spaces in March 2023.
“The University of Washington has always deeply valued the arts, as is evident by the prominent placement of the Art and Music Buildings at the apex of the liberal arts Quad. The present-day quality of our arts facilities must be well aligned with the value that we place on these disciplines. This renovation project is a crucial contribution toward that goal.” // Catherine Cole, Divisional Dean of the Arts
Arts Capital Campaign Update
Through a public-private partnership, the University has invested $10 million towards a campaign goal of $14 million for the Art and Music Building projects. Meeting this goal will require our community of supporters to come together and raise the final $4 million for the campaign — $2 million for the Art Building.
With this foundational University funding, design and construction planning are already underway, and we are inviting the School's alumni and supporters to help see the project through to completion. Just over $1.3 million has been committed by private donors to date, and we hope to reach the $2 million milestone by December 2021.
If you would like to help us transform the way we teach and create the arts on campus, please consider contributing to the School's Capital Campaign Fund. We are excited for the future of the School of Art + Art History + Design, and we are grateful for your support.