New building in construction at Holman Arts & Media Center

Kyra Kliman, Editor

The Sierra Nevada University art department’s long-awaited goal for a kiln yard in The Holman Arts & Media Center building is about to become a reality, with completion expected at the end of February or beginning of March.

Two key players who have invested their time in establishing the kiln yard are Sheri Leigh O’Connor, chairman of the fine arts program at SNU, and Rick Parsons, associate professor.

“There is no way to get a project like this off the ground without a lot of support from the community, the Holmans, Shannon Beets, Sue Johnson, Jim Steinmann, Dianne Severance, and the entire development team,” Parsons said.

The late Robin and Robert Holman in 2014 funding construction of the Holman Arts Media Center as a centerpiece of the college and as an asset to the local community.

The purpose behind the kiln yard project, Parsons said, is to consolidate four kilns in a single area – they are currently spread out throughout the campus. One issue students and faculty faced was transporting their ceramics pieces from The Holman Arts & Media Center because the building is located across a major highway intersection from the David Hall building. Hannah Fridholm, the lab technician for the art department, expressed the difficulties in transporting the finished glazed ceramic pieces. This involves wrapping, loading, and unloading the fragile ceramic pieces by car.

According to O’Connor, a significant issue is one of the kilns was kept outside of David Hall unprotected from the snow, which made it difficult to work there. The new building will provide a shelter for the kilns in the kiln yard. It will streamline the process for students creating ceramic projects. Also, the new facility will alleviate the prior concerns by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency by having an adequate garbage enclosure and kilns inside the facility. By moving the kiln and garbage into the facility, further permitting will not be required.

“The art department provides unique opportunities for undergraduates in the form of one-on-one mentorship,” said Parsons. Over the past 10 years, student graduates from the art department have matriculated to some top art schools, including Cranbrook Academy of Art, Alfred University, Ohio University, and Parsons School of Design.

The art department has sponsored highly acclaimed regional and national artists to speak at the college, and offers local talks from visiting artists and a variety of art courses students and community members may attend. They also provide auditing opportunities so the general public can get involved. “Summer workshops are important because they put us in a national landscape,” Parsons explained.

Students and faculty can look forward to the completion of the building by the end of February or early March. Following its completion, a ceremony will be scheduled to recognize the multiple donors and hard work that has gone into this project.