An artist's rendering of the new entry rotunda for the Joyce Eichhorn Ames
School of Art Building
Gift to Give New Look to
Ames School of Art
May 26, 2011
The Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art Building will have a new look this fall,
complete with studio and office renovations and an entry designed to showcase the
school. The new construction is made possible by a gift from B. Charles "Chuck"
Ames '50 and Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49.
Construction began in May on a more than 2,400-square-foot glass rotunda and lobby
for the entrance of the art building, designed by CSO Architects and consultant
R. Paul Bradley. The building, which is part of the Alice Millar Center for
the Arts, houses classrooms and studios for painting, printmaking, photography,
ceramics, graphics and other art activities. The building also accommodates the
Merwin and Wakeley art galleries.
"There is so much creativity and beauty in the work of those in the School of Art,
and we wanted the exterior of the building to reflect that," said Jay, who was
an art major at Illinois Wesleyan, where she developed a lifelong passion for
visual arts with professors such as Art Department Chairman Kenneth Loomis. "We
want visitors to know, with one look, that this is the art building."
The School of Art was named in honor of Jay in 1998, when her husband decided to
surprise her on Valentine's Day with an endowment gift to the University. The
Ameses, longtime supporters of the University, are honorary chairs of the Transforming
Lives campaign. The couple is responsible for major gifts that include a challenge
to raise money for the construction of The Ames Library, which opened in 2002.
They also made history in 2009 with a $25 million gift for the Wesleyan Fund and
faculty endowments, the largest in the history of the University.
Renovations to the School of Art through the Ames' gift will also include much
of the first floor outside the Merwin and Wakeley art galleries. "This will
provide more room and an inviting atmosphere for the many gatherings, openings
and receptions for artists held near the galleries," said Roger Schnaitter, the
former associate provost and current University liaison for construction projects
in academic buildings.
To accommodate the new lobby, faculty offices will relocate to the second floor
of the building. According to Schnaitter, the construction also provided the
University the opportunity to improve the existing space. "The four current instructional
studios will be revamped into three larger, more spacious studios for students,"
The University expects the instructional studios and faculty offices to be ready
before the 2011 fall semester begins and the rest of the project completed soon
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960