Piedmont breaks ground on new art studio building
Photo Right: Breaking ground for the new Piedmont College art studios were, from left, Hilda Burke from the Habersham County Chamber of Commerce; Mike Grizzel of Scroggs and Grizzel Contracting Inc.; Parks Miller, assistant vice president for administrative services at Piedmont; president Danny Hollingsworth; art department chair Chris Kelly; and Judy Taylor, director of the Habersham Chamber.
As work continues on a new art museum in downtown Demorest, construction is also under way for a new art studio/classroom building on the Piedmont College campus.
Representatives from Piedmont, the Habersham County Chamber of Commerce, and Scroggs and Grizzel Contracting held a ground breaking ceremony for the new building on June 29 near the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Massachusetts Boulevard in Demorest.
The modern, three-story building, designed by Armentrout, Matheny, and Thurmond of Athens, will provide more than 26,000 square feet of instruction space for all of the college’s art classes, said Chris Kelly, chair of the Piedmont Art Department. “For the first time, Piedmont will have a facility purposefully built for the instruction of art,” Kelly said. “Lighting, safety and ease of instruction will be greatly improved. It will be a stellar space for art instruction.”
In addition to facilities for the study of painting and sculpture, the building will house instruction space for photography, ceramics and graphic design, Kelly said.
New Piedmont President Dr. Danny Hollingsworth, who took over the position from Dr. Ray Cleere in June, praised Cleere and Piedmont Vice President Dr. James Mellichamp for their work to bring the new building to fruition. “With the remodeling of the downtown art buildings for the new Mason-Scharfenstein Art Museum, the college art department needed a new home,” Hollingsworth said. “This building is a fantastic addition not just for Piedmont, but for all of northeast Georgia. Dr. Cleere and Dr. Mellichamp had a great vision for a studio that fits the needs of our students and is also architecturally a great fit for the site.”
While the art studio building is not scheduled to open until the fall semester of 2012, the new art museum in downtown Demorest is on track for an opening this fall, Hollingsworth said. The upper floor of the museum will house a permanent collection of primarily 19th and 20th-century American and European artwork collected over the past 40 years by Piedmont Trustee Dr. Bill Mason and Bob Scharfenstein, both of Birmingham, Ala. The lower floor will feature a variety of exhibits by students, faculty, and invited artists.
Kelly said the new museum and studio building will especially augment Piedmont’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in art administration. Graduates of this program combine classes in the fine arts with business courses to learn how to manage art, music, and theatre venues.