Columbia Building at 623 S. Wabash Avenue houses various resources for students, allowing them to access materials and equipment for their artistic practices. The variety can be overwhelming and knowing what prerequisites are needed to access each resource can be daunting. Here’s a tier-by-tier breakdown of the resources that can be found there.
The technical bar
New in the building is the TechBar on the first floor. Now open after a year and a half of development, the space offers students “level one,” or basic support with technology.
“Our Columbia students provide technical support to [their] fellow Columbia students,” said Dok Kang, an academic technology architect.
While students shouldn’t expect miracles, the tech bar can fix pesky issues that can delay an assignment or prevent access to their email.
“We do not open the computer, we do not repair the hardware, but we provide simple technological solutions, in particular [for] first-year students, Kang said.
The TechBar specializes in software used university-wide, such as Canvas and Office 365.
The TechBar is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and students can ask questions in person or remotely, by email, phone, or via Microsoft Teams. In addition to support, students can also rent a Chromebook for up to a week and borrow chargers for phones, iPads, and several types of computers for a 24-hour period.
Although it serves as a classroom for many printmaking courses, the second-floor printmaking center is also available to students outside school hours.
Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, with specific studio opening times that vary from day to day.
The space is accessible to students who have taken the five-week screen printing course or “Engraving I”. The space is then available to students until they graduate, whether or not they continue to take printmaking classes.
With five printing presses, risograph printers, a direct-to-garment printer, and materials available for purchase on-site, students can experiment with a variety of techniques including etching, lithography, and relief printing.
The space, which is covered with prints and student work, is what Meghann Sottile, teaching specialist at the manufacturing plant, said is “smaller [and] more intimate” than other facilities, making it a haven for students.
“It’s a really inclusive environment,” Sottile said. “There’s definitely like a community, especially as the semester progresses and students start to get to know each other.”
The fashion lab
On the seventh floor, The Fashion Lab is open to all students of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Industrial sewing machines, mannequins and other sewing supplies are available to students from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Fashion students are allowed to use the space as part of several of their courses – including “Pattern Design and Construction 1” and “Clothing Appraisal” – but all other students must make an appointment for fashion clearance with a teaching specialist.
For specialized equipment such as embroidery and knitting machines, demonstrations will take place at Fashion Lab on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. until November 22.
“Each semester we give incoming students their own kits to start the semester,” said Ruqyyah Karim, a 2015 fashion graduate and Fashion Lab teaching specialist.
In the free kits, students will receive materials such as muslin and a sewing kit, which are also available for purchase in the lab.
While the space isn’t usually overcrowded, teaching specialist and 2016 fashion graduate Zena Salam warns that it gets hectic towards the end of the semester.
“Come early during the finals to claim your space,” Salam said.
The Open Studio, located on the eighth floor, is a free workspace accessible to any student.
“The idea is anytime, any building hour, any day of the week, this space is available for students to work on models, paint, draw, sculpt, whatever. what they want to work on,” said Chris Kerr, director of Instructional Installations.
There are no logins or prerequisites needed to use the space, which includes work tables, a photoshoot area, and storage lockers for students. work. The the studio is open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
The 10th Floor Manufacturing Plant hosts an assortment of tools and materials that cover a range of disciplines, from woodworking to digital output. Once a student has taken a course in design, photography, acting, art and art history, or fashion studies, they automatically have access to the space.
In the manufacturing facility, students find cnc router, a vacuum former, potter’s wheels and power tools, among other equipment. And when classes aren’t held at the facility, students can use the classrooms and computer lab as study spaces.
Students can buy equipment at wholesale prices and can also rent tools for the day.
For some tools, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, students need individual authorization training before using them. For most resources, permissions are issued through a tier system.
A short training video takes students to level one, providing access to simple hand tools, ceramics and the training center.
For levels two and three, in-person training sessions are longer and students have access to advanced woodworking and metalworking tools. Permissions are granted throughout the fall semester, with the majority taking place in September.
“A lot of people are afraid to get on and use the big power tools, and that’s just part of what we have here,” said Andy Young, education specialist at the manufacturing plant. . “I always say no matter what major you’re looking for, it’s great to have tools under your belt, and I say that’s not a pun.”