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New UK Art Building Is Meant To Be Seen

After spending more than four decades in what was supposed to be a temporary space, the University of Kentucky’s School of Art and Visual Studies is welcoming students and faculty into a brand new facility this semester.

Walking into the school’s new Bolivar Street facility, you won’t be greeted by the standard hallways and doors of a regular classroom building. Instead, you’ll encounter a large airy gallery, studios separated only by glass, and natural light flooding the interiors. Not surprisingly, it’s all by design.

"It's going to be hard to hide in this building," says school director Robert Jensen.

The more than 100,000 square foot center is all about creating a collaborative atmosphere, something lacking in the school’s much maligned former Reynolds building location.

"We've got five digital media labs now, and we'll soon have a sixth, and we have a 3D fabrication studio," he says. "We had a couple in various places on campus, but this is all together now and much bigger than before."

And the result is receiving high marks – with Mayor Jim Gray describing the one-time tobacco warehouse as perhaps the most extraordinary example of adaptive reuse in the city.