Arts and Humanities Building makes a grand impression


Photo credit: Sean Martens

Curious faces pressed up against warm glass in the courtyard of the Arts and Humanities building as a small band played The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” They lingered just on the other side of the threshold as student’s quickly pulled rods tipped with molten glass from a furnace and quickly rush to blow air through the hollow rod. The crowd watched in awe from a distance, though they could still feel the heat radiating from the windowed room.

The grand opening of the new Arts and Humanities building was held on Oct. 23, during Chico Preview day. The grand opening featured speeches, refreshments, guided tours and demonstrations from students.

Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, Robert Knight took to the podium to kick off the festivities by quoting Nicola Fucigna’s “Poetry and Architecture.”

“Words are stones, precisely chiseled and laid, to create the sacred, culturally resonant whole. Both poems and buildings achieve their effects through attention to detail, texture and structure,” Knight quoted.

Photo credit: Sean Martens

In his opening speech he drew the audience’s attention to how the new building’s architecture connects to that of Trinity Tower and the brick construction of most of the campus.

Before the ribbon cutting, President Gale Hutchinson briefly took the podium to thank all those who made the building possible and to celebrate the first new building to open on campus in 16 years.

“At Chico state we’re dedicated to providing tomorrow’s leaders with a leading edge facility, technology and tools to help them dream bigger and achieve more,” Hutchinson said.

After the opening speech, the audience was invited into the courtyard for food, refreshments and guided tours of the building.

Inside the courtyard, a small brass band stood staggered on a staircase playing acoustic versions of songs for the gathered community members, faculty, prospective students and their parents.

Throughout the building, students demonstrated their craft – whether it be pottery or glass blowing or musical engineering – as guides led groups of curious people on tours.

Photo credit: Sean Martens

Many people caught their first glimpse of the Zingg Recital Hall as students played piano during the tours. The groups were also taken into the recording studio – which is a multi-suite space that includes the recital hall itself – and were given a run down of the facility by Instructor Dann Sargent.

Sargent described how the recording studio was a room encased in concrete, situated on top of vibration isolators, and back-filled with sand so that the space is so soundproof noise from the bus station is completely neutralized.

“It’s like having a Porshe with on board navigation,” Sargent said in reference to the new soundboard in the studio.

Throughout the different artistic spaces in the building, different demonstrations were given. Guitarists took over the critique space on the second floor while glass blowers fully demonstrated their craft.

Guest artist Sue Tirrell, paints her pottery in the new Arts and Humanities building. Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

In the pottery room, students continued to paint and throw their ceramics not phased by the onlookers as they toured the building.

“I love ceramics, this new facility is the most incredible gift we’ve ever been given,” said Steven Osterlund.

Art demonstrations and lectures will continue to be given throughout the year in the various spaces in the Arts and Humanities building. A calendar of these events can be found online here.

Anna Porretta can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.