The Department of Art is housed in the Ceracche Center; specifically, it is located on the lower level, under locker rooms. Classes for art majors and minors are crowded with both students and equipment, and the sounds of student-athletes in the midst of conditioning exercises in the upper level carry down to the students, faculty and staff in the midst of instruction.
While the building has now been upgraded to have air conditioning and better ventilation systems, it should not have taken this long to get these essentials. The Ithacan reported on issues with the Ceracche Center as long ago as 1972, and many of those problems are still unresolved. Lingering paint fumes, crowded classrooms and a cramped shared space still plague the department.
The location is also an issue. Art is meant to be viewed, interpreted and discussed, and none of this can happen when the Department of Art is so far removed from the heart of campus. The South Hill Business Campus has been used for art shows, but that too is removed from campus, and thus the students that would be seeing the art produced by students, cannot see it. The Handwerker Gallery, which has the greatest potential for student traffic, is reserved mostly for visiting artists and alumni — there is little opportunity for undergraduate artists to display their art.
These infrastructural issues are an insult to students taking art classes and those majoring in art. Ithaca College advertises itself as a place where creative students can collaborate and make various creative projects, but that seems virtually impossible when the students most dedicated to art are so far removed from the activity of campus.
It is simply an insult to the Department of Art to subject it to such conditions. The college must do better on their behalf. Of course, it would be easy to suggest that the college simply provide the Department of Art with a new location that is more central, but considering the current layout of campus, that seems logistically impossible at the moment.
Rather, the college must work to improve the Department of Art’s current space, or perhaps build a physical building for the School of Humanities and Sciences. This could ensure better conditions while also creating better connections between art students and other students across campus.