Giving new life to the printmaking studio


Dane Sheehan

Current progress in print farm renovations, new equipment has been added to the room as construction continues in the back.

Kylie Jacobs, Staff Reporter

Dane Sheehan / Assistant Photo Editor

Printmaking students are all breathing in a collective sigh of relief as the renovations to their new lab are slowly, but surely making ground.

About 15 years in the making, this renovation project kicked off in December of 2016, providing students with a new room of approximately 3000 square feet to create art. Though not quite finished yet, students and faculty alike are excited of what the new area will bring to future projects.

“In the old room, there was no room to move, the work flow wasn’t great. There was a ventilation problem, not a good exchange of air. Everything was just too close,” says Max White, professor and head of the printmaking department area.

With this new room, everything is going to change. There are separate rooms designed for students working with slightly hazardous materials to be able to have the air flow needed. There’s a room for etching, a dark room, as well as a washout room. The ceilings are higher, the lights are brighter, everything is brand new.

“I just hope that this will bring more students into the printmaking studio,” says Dania Knotek, printmaking lab assistant. “Having this new printmaking studio hopefully will be something we can advertise to bring in more students.”

The construction of this new lab wasn’t without its problems though. Originally deemed a safety project, it was funded by the State of Wisconsin, but almost went under when problems arose with the fire suppression in the building. With support from the faculty at Whitewater, they worked tirelessly to find the extra money needed for this update.

“These things don’t happen overnight. There have been people along the whole way from when we got the proposal. There’s been Dean Hayes, Associate Dean Mertens, Tami McCullough, Susam Messer, Maggie Willsey and Erica Meier. This has been a team effort through and through. There’s been the contractors, architects, every single one of them,” says White.

Students all around are already excited to sign up for classes in the new room. With more space, students will be able to be more comfortable, have better lighting and work flow will increase.

Faith Hall, a sophomore at UW-W says “Working in the current print room right now is super stressful because it’s technically a painting studio. It just means that there isn’t enough room to put all of our projects, especially when they need to dry. There’s just a lot more pressure because we’re guests in the room. I’m really looking forward to working in the new print studio because we’ll be the first class in there and it’ll be our own area.”

A great facility doesn’t always mean great artwork. Here at UW-W, however, students have been making great artwork since day one. This new room won’t make it better, but it will add to the already high quality work students have been making for decades.

“It’s about bringing people together,” says White. “There’s been years and years of high quality work from great artists. It didn’t matter if something was jabbing at you or how tight it was. This new room is just adding to what great work our students already do.”

For more information about printmaking, feel free to check out the Printmaking Farm, a club open to all majors. They meet every other Wednesday in the Center of The Arts, room 35.