New painting building is just one of the treats during the 2015 Open Studios event

Open Studios 2014

The Open Studios event, shown in 2014, will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Fine Arts Building.

Indiana University’s fine arts students have something new to show off during the annual Open Studios event Oct. 30.

Like in previous years, several art buildings around campus will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. to students and members of the greater IU and Bloomington communities. Visitors can see student work, explore artists’ studio practices and participate in creative activities.

This fall, however, marks the first time the public can visit the new painting studios constructed in the former IU Press Warehouse at 802 E. 13th St., between Woodlawn and Forrest avenues.

The warehouse is the first new fine arts facility to open on the Bloomington campus since the announcement of the School of Art and Design, which is scheduled to launch in July 2016. Kirkwood Hall, built in 1894 on the Old Crescent, also is undergoing extensive renovations and will accommodate the school’s offices.

New painting studios

Painting can be a messy business, and one that requires specialized spaces.

Mitch Raney

Mitch Raney is a first-year MFA student who said he was an outsider artist before coming to train at IU.

The IU Press Warehouse has been renovated from an industrial building into a facility that meets the needs of artists. It incorporates classrooms, display space, a small woodshop and individual studios for instructors and both BFA and MFA students.

Courtney Payne, assistant university architect called the conversion project “a unique challenge, the nature of which I doubt I will encounter in exactly the same way during my tenure here at Indiana University.”

The roof, plumbing, power and data lines all were overhauled. ADA access guidelines were met. Energy-saving LED track lights that mimic daylight were added. And, to protect artists from solvent fumes, a powerful HVAC system was installed that exchanges the air 10 times an hour.

Other visible features include communal storage, slop sinks, wide doorways, sturdy painted plywood studio walls, clerestory windows and ceilings that soar beyond 35 feet in height.

Together, it all has created an inspiring environment, that the painting students described as clean, pristine and airy.

IU Press Warehouse studios

Sturdy walls separate studios, but open space soars to the ceiling at IU Press Warehouse.

“The ceilings are endless,” said Caleb Weintraub, an associate professor who teaches painting.

Second-year MFA painter Anna Buckner described the atmosphere as more communal and less isolating than the former studios in a decommissioned dormitory.

The new space might already be influencing the work created there, too.

Madeline Winter, also a second-year MFA student, showed off an expansive, blank canvas in her studio she was ready to start painting.

“There’s a lot more wall space here, so I’ve been able to scale up my canvas size, which has been wonderful,” she said. “It feels a little more like a professional studio environment.”

2015 Open Studios activities

In recent years, non-majors have been enrolling in IU’s studio art fundamentals courses in greater numbers. The free Open Studios event is a good opportunity for students to tour facilities and also get a taste of what they might experience in various studio art classes.

For students and community members alike, the first stop should be the Friends of Art Bookshop in the Fine Arts Building. Maps and directions to the three other participating studio buildings will be available. Shop visitors also can try making books.


“The Wunderkammer” exhibition will be open at the Grunwald Gallery.

Fine Arts, 1201 E. Seventh St., will be open 6 to 8 p.m. with activities including contour drawing, letterpress printing, button-making, copper stamping and a photo booth.

On the first floor, the Grunwald Gallery will be open, including its delightfully creepy exhibition “The Wunderkammer: Curiosities in Indiana University Collections.” Among other oddities, the show includes bats, pickled vipers, a wildebeest and a plaster cast of former IU president William Lowe Bryan’s head.

Central Stores Art Annex, 1026 E. 11th St., will be open 7 to 9 p.m. with ceramics demos, music, dancing, food and what is being described as a “celebrity photo opportunity.” Handmade mugs also can be filled with cider, cocoa and espresso.

McCalla, 525 E. Ninth St., and the new painting studios at IU Press Warehouse, 802 E. 13th St., will be open 8 to 10 p.m. The warehouse will offer music, pizza and collaborative mural painting.

At McCalla, the Fuller Projects gallery will feature the participatory installation “Push Button For.” The Fuller Halloween costume contest judging will begin at 8:30 p.m. with prizes awarded at 9 p.m. Undergraduates who have filled out punch cards by visiting all 12 arts and activity areas will be eligible to win prizes in a free raffle drawing, too.

Visitor parking is available in the SGIS/Wells Library parking lot. For more information about Open Studios, call 812-855-1333 or email the Friends of Art Bookshop at

Anna Buckner is a second-year MFA student who creates pieced canvases she calls "quilt paintings."

Anna Buckner is a second-year MFA student who creates pieced canvas “quilt paintings.”

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