Studio Art Renovations in Old Tarble

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This article is the first in a two-part series of articles about Old Tarble. This Friday the Daily Gazette will publish a history of Old Tarble, including details of the fire of 1983.

Old Tarble renovations began over the summer and are slated to be completed in the next couple of weeks. These latest renovations culminate several years of facilities expansion for the art department and will greatly enhance the experience of art students. There is an enlarged studio for seniors in Beardsley, but the renovations in Old Tarble include a relocated printmaking studio, more storage space, and making the building ADA accessible. You can see a photograph of early construction here

“It really brings us on par with the rest of the academic departments.” Professor of Studio Art Randy Exon on the importance of the recent renovations in Old Tarble and Beardsley.

Shortly after the Art department’s move to Beardsley, they realized that there wasn’t enough studio space. Professor of Studio Art Randy Exon said that Old Tarble was originally intended to be a temporary space, but it quickly turned into an important studio space for the department. Old Tarble housed the department’s largest studio space and therefore the prerequisite Foundation class was taught there.

Although one of the department’s most important classes was being taught there, the space was not renovated for many years after the fire that burned most of Old Tarble down in September of 1983. According to Exon, for the next twenty years the only improvement was a new paint job. Three years ago the windows, floor, and sinks in the building were repaired and replaced.

The repairs and improvements continued this past summer with expansions that bring the department to “a plateau… in terms of the facilities our students have access to,” said the Chair of the Art Department, Syd Carpenter.

The printmaking studio was moved down to Old Tarble from Beardsley over the summer to a room that was previously used as overflow storage space for the post office but which was freed up after the Parrish renovations were completed in 2005. That move allowed for a major expansion of the senior studio space in Beardsley.

There was also an expansion, rebuilding a room that was severely damaged during the fire which will be used for storage space and student lockers which will free up extra space in the Foundations studio. The expansion will also feature an ADA accessible bathroom and an ADA accessible ramp into the building which is currently being constructed and should be finished in the next few weeks, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain.

“We have so much space, and the numerous windows provide great light to work with” said Emmanuelle Wambach ’08, a Studio Art major, of the expanded studio space in Beardsley.

There are “now three classes in Old Tarble: printmaking and two foundation sections,” said Exon, and because the space is so important for art students the department was bothered by the fact that the building wasn’t ADA accessible, a situation which will shortly be remedied.

“We’re just thrilled” about the renovations and added space, said Carpenter. “It really brings us on par with the rest of the academic departments” Exon added. When told of their sentiments Hain said, “I’m glad that they feel that way; it was fun to work with them.”

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