Athens, Ga. – The new Lamar Dodd School of Art building on the University of Georgia’s East Campus will be formally opened Sept. 4 in a dedication ceremony that honors the legacy of one of the South’s leading modern artists and art educators.
The 2 p.m. ceremony also marks completion of another key facility in a plan conceived more than a decade ago to create a premier complex on East Campus for teaching, research and performance in the visual and performing arts.
The ceremony will include remarks by UGA President Michael F. Adams; Georgia Strange, director of the Dodd School; Kristi Kathleen Buice, an undergraduate student in the school; and C. L. Morehead, an Athens businessman who was a close friend of the school’s namesake, Lamar Dodd, and who owns the largest private collection of Dodd’s artworks. Following a ribbon-cutting there will be a reception and tours of the building.
Other activities associated with the dedication include an exhibit of artwork by school faculty members, a symposium on art history and a panel discussion on art education.
The dedication will also kick off the first UGA Arts Festival featuring exhibits of fine and decorative arts; musical, theatrical and dance performances; and activities for children and families. Information about the festival is located at www.uga.edu/artsfestival.
“A truly great university must have a top-quality arts program,” said Adams. “This beautiful new building, along with the existing Hugh Hodgson School of Music, the Performing Arts Center and the planned expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art, gives UGA a world-class arts complex that not only benefits our students and faculty but also is a wonderful resource for all citizens of Georgia.”
Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, which includes the art school, agreed the new building is a landmark for the arts at UGA.
“It is hugely gratifying to know that the new Lamar Dodd School of Art building is topping off the completion of the Performing and Visual Arts Complex and is now serving students, faculty and staff in the art school as well as those in other disciplines across campus,” Stokes said.
“We are delighted by the administration’s support of all the arts at the university and are thrilled to offer the first UGA Arts Festival to the campus and arts communities at large as a way to celebrate the opening of the new building.”
The dedication will be a tribute to the life and career of Dodd, the Georgia native who was head of the UGA art department from 1938 until 1973, and chairman of the Division of Fine Arts from 1960 until his retirement in 1976. Acknowledged as one of the strongest influences on art in the
South in the 20th century, Dodd was also a prolific artist who produced hundreds of works over more than 60 years.
The art school was named for Dodd in 1996, shortly before his death. A scholarship and a professorial chair in the school also carry his name.
“Lamar Dodd was a charismatic figure who created a high profile for UGA’s art program,” said Strange, who became director of the school in 2006. “He recruited outstanding faculty including Jack Kehoe, who started the highly regarded Cortona study abroad program, and in many other ways provided outstanding leadership that helped make the visual arts a modern strength for the university. Naming the school for him is a wonderful way to recognize his contributions.”
Arnett C. Mace, UGA’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the new building adds significantly to the university’s overall academic quality.
“The arts are an integral part of a well-rounded education and this building provides our students some of the best facilities and resources available for studying visual art,” Mace said. “It is a major step in solidifying the University of Georgia’s position as a national leader in arts education.”
The Lamar Dodd School, one of the nation’s largest university art programs with more than 1,000 majors, long ago outgrew the visual arts building on UGA’s North Campus where it has been located since 196l. A new art building was in the plan developed in the 1990s to create a major arts complex on East Campus, but it fell in line behind other buildings.
Construction on the $40 million building began in 2006 and faculty began moving in this summer. Classes began with the start of fall semester Aug. 18.
Finally having most of the school’s students, faculty and staff in one building is a “transformative experience,” Strange said. “It gives us a new sense of community that will have a very positive impact on the quality of teaching, learning, research and creative activity. We’re excited that the university and the state place such a high value on the arts.”
The school’s students and faculty will also benefit by having greater access to, and interaction with, students and faculty involved in other arts activities in the Georgia Museum of Art, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music and the Performing Arts Center, Strange said.
The three-story, 172,000-square-foot building features many large windows and expansive interior spaces that maximize natural light. A two-story lobby atrium, with a media center mezzanine, is bisected by a central staircase that provides access to classrooms and studios specifically designed for 10 areas of concentration-fabric design, printmaking, photography, graphic design, drawing and painting, scientific illustration, art education, art history, foundations and Art X: expanded forms.
The building also includes two lecture auditoriums, faculty offices and studios and a spacious courtyard.
In keeping with UGA’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the building includes many energy-and water-saving features such as use of indigenous and recycled building materials; solar shades and light shelves to increase natural light and reduce summer heat; a heat-wheel energy recovery system for efficient heating and cooling; water-efficient fixtures; and lighting control sensors. The roof of one of the auditoriums is a 3,400-square-foot “green roof” carpeted with plants.
The building was designed to fit into an overall greenspace and stormwater management plan for the East Campus arts complex. The system channels water runoff from buildings into a series of rain gardens and swales where it is filtered and cleansed before flowing into a nearby small creek.