Arts Center an inspiring new home for graphic design students

May 10, 2017

Since its construction, the International Arts Center (IAC) has provided TROY’s graphic design students with new resources for creativity and an atmosphere of inspiration.

The IAC, which was formally opened alongside the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park last November, is home to two art galleries, an interpretive center and the university’s graphic design program, which includes a classroom, a computer lab and visiting artist areas.

Charley Bond, a senior graphic design major from Montgomery, Alabama, said that having a separate building has made it easier for students to stay organized, focused and connected to their work.

“Before the new center was built, accessing computers was not always the problem,” she said. “It was the combination of fine arts and graphic design in the same building. Malone hall was too cramped and didn’t give the graphic design program a place to breathe. The new building helps us focus on one thing, and that’s pure design.”

Technology in the IAC includes access to scanners, printers, projectors and Adobe Creative Cloud, a software used by graphic designers, video editors and photographers, and other tools 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A view of the rear entrance to the International Arts Center, overlooking Nall's Violata Pax Dove sculpture.

A view of the rear entrance to the International Arts Center, overlooking Nall’s Violata Pax Dove sculpture.

“Having access to this building 24/7 is very important to many of us students because staying up long nights in the lab is a normal routine for graphic designers,” Bond said. “I would say that I use the lab at least three times a week for more than 4 hours in each sitting.”

Taylor Garza, a sophomore graphic design major from Ozark, Alabama, sees the building as a refuge away from the hustle and bustle from the rest of the campus.

“The new center has been a beautiful place to spend my days in,” she said. “Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, I walk through the open foyer greeted by the view of the art exhibits on both sides through the glass walls. Since the graphic design department is smaller than most, not a lot of classes happen at the same time so the building can serve as a quiet escape from some of the more crowded places on campus.”

Not only does the new space provide a quiet place to think, it also gives students an outlet to prepare for the workforce and feel more professional.

“The technology in the new building has the perks of being able to bring a client in and present your work in a retro environment, while also being professional,” Bond said. “My work feels more professional and useable when working in the IAC. Seniors are now able to present their senior thesis in a beautiful gallery with good lighting. Aesthetics is everything to us.”

The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park at the Troy Campus.

The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park at the Troy Campus.

Because society is becoming more technologically advanced and aesthetically driven, Garza said the demand for graphic designers in the workplace is becoming more relevant, and the construction of the IAC is further validation of the field.

“People, especially those from younger generations, tend to gravitate towards things that are more visually appealing, whether they realize it or not, and graphic design is everywhere,” she said. “Every good logo, sign, website, advertisement, thumbnail, form, poster, app, postcard, t-shirt, book, pamphlet, icon, label and billboard, along with many other everyday things, were probably made by a graphic designer.

“This new addition to the university should attract more students seeking a degree in art or graphic design because, before now, it was a much lesser known department and even finding mention of it online was a struggle. The building validates us as a growing field and should encourage more people to pursue a career in graphic design at Troy University.”

The IAC’s art gallery features the Fred “Nall” Hollis Gallery with works dating back to the 1960s and the Huo Bao Zhu Gallery with visiting exhibits. The Warriors Unearthed interpretive center by Frank Marquette explores the history behind the Chinese terracotta warriors displayed in the park.