UW-Parkside Communication Arts Remodel And Addition

Project Number: #05I2O

Art Budget: $66,000 (Expected to cover all design and fabrication expenses associated with the project.)

Eligibility Criteria: All artists from Arts Midwest region are eligible to apply (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) Applicants must not be students in a fine arts degree program. 

Art Schedule

Design Due: Spring 2011

Installation: Fall/Winter 2011, pending location. 

Building Completion: September 2011

Architects: Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc (HGA) Milwaukee, WI.

The Campus

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's strength is based on the following Core Values expressed in our strategic plan.  These are: Academic Excellence, Student Success, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Community Engagement, and a Healthy and Vibrant Campus Climate.

Academic Excellence.  A rigorous academic experience marked by high quality teaching, research and creative activity to prepare students to become responsible and engaged local and global citizens.

Student Success.  An integrated approach to student success, focused on setting clear expectations and articulating measurable standards for excellence beginning with the first year and continuing until graduation.

Diversity and Inclusiveness.  Inclusiveness and diversity permeate all policies, procedures, programs, services, decisions and student, faculty and staff experiences.

Community Engagement.  Community engagement is a nationally recognized hallmark of distinction for UW-Parkside embedded in an institutional commitment fostering civic-minded students, alumni, staff and faculty who provide scholarship, leadership, resources and services to the local and global community.​

A Healthy and Vibrant Campus Climate.  Creation of a campus culture and climate that is a welcoming environment for learning, reflective of our core values and high standards of collegiality and service to others both internally and externally.

Together, these Core Values serve as the cornerstone to making the University of Wisconsin-Parkside "Southeastern Wisconsin's University". The University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus is nestled among nearly 700 acres of restored meadows, towering oak and maple woods, and a picturesque river in Kenosha County. The campus is located between Milwaukee and Chicago.  http://www.uwp.edu/

UW-Parkside serves a diverse student body of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences http://www.uwp.edu/departments/arts.sciences/  and the School of Business and Technology http://www.uwp.edu/departments/business.technology/. UW-Parkside ranks among the top UW System campuses in enrolling persons of color. Among Parkside students, there are a high percentage of both commuters and non traditional students along with a high number of first generation college students. 92% of the students are from WI.

The UW Parkside Theater program has 7 faculty and adjunct faculty with 50 student majors in a mixture of traditional and contemporary theatre productions.  Music has 7 faculty and about 70 student majors studying bassoon, cello, classical guitar, clarinet, double bass, flute, harpsichord, horn, oboe, organ, percussion, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, violin, viola and voice. Visual Art students represent the fifth largest major on campus. There are 7 full time faculty and 225 students concentrating in Digital and Studio Arts.   

The Communication Arts Building​

Located at the southwest end of campus, UW-Parkside's Communication Arts Building was originally constructed in 1971, and provided only minimal instructional space for fine arts and humanities programs. The institution's original mission anticipated that engineering and science would become the major academic programs, and that fine arts and humanities programs would only support these larger majors. As the campuses academic programs have developed and matured, however, the demand for engineering has been minimal, resulting in the recent elimination of the Department of Engineering. UW-Parkside's institutional mission has evolved to that of a liberal arts university and the demand for fine arts programs has increased to the point where existing facilities were severely inadequate to support these programs. The performing and visual arts have emerged as the public face of the Institution.  Theater productions, music recitals and art exhibitions introduce potential students to the school for the first time while providing the larger community with a continuous source of cultural events.

The Site

This project remodels approximately 91,000 GSF of space in three facilities: the Communication Arts building; nearby Molinaro Hall, and  Hall. Approximately 72,000 GSF will be added to the Communication Arts building. In addition a new sculpture courtyard will serves as a laboratory for 3-D art programs. 

UW-Parkside's core building complex is a unique architectural resource worthy of preservation. The complex, which was designed by HOK and others from 1969-72 is typical of university architecture of it's time period.   Image

The new Communication Art Remodeling and Addition project will house the university's fine arts performance venues serving both the campus community and the general public.  It will also contain the most modern classrooms available on campus.  The focus of the construction will be the new addition to the Communication Arts Building and the remodeling of spaces in the Communication Arts Building and the nearby Molinaro and Wylie Halls. 

In the new Communication Arts Center a black box theater, an intimate 340 seat music recital hall and a new gallery space cluster around the existing theater. The various departments housed in the Communication Arts Building pinwheel around the shared central two story entrance lobby.  This forms a visually prominent entry that allows for a much needed focal pedestrian entry to the rest of campus. Image The new lobby area has glass curtain walls on the exterior while the interior lobby finishes include custom brick, precast concrete, Red Oak and bronze elements.  A connector bridging the Music and Theatre classroom spaces is located on the second floor of the two story lobby.

In addition to the new performance spaces, practice rooms and classrooms transform the Communication Arts building into a facility that will allow UW-Parkside's visual and performance arts programs to continue to evolve for years to come and will unify the three departments as a Regional Arts Center for the surrounding counties. Architectural highlights of the project include:

  • ​The Communication Arts Addition:  New and remodeled space in Communication Arts will provide: instructional labs and performance space for Theatre Arts, Music, and 2-D and 3-DArt programs; general access classrooms; and administrative offices. Departmental features of the project include:
    • Theater: A new 120 seat Black Box Theater located on the north side of the building and will contain north facing windows. This flexible performance space will function in multiple configurations including in-the-round, thrust and, occasionally, proscenium theater styles.  It will also serve as a laboratory space for student projects. In addition, dedicated storage space for sets, costumes and back-stage activities along with dedicated classroom labs for costume craft, makeup, scenic and lighting design will be added to the facility. 
    • ​Music: A new 340 seat music recital hall will be added and existing instructional labs will be remodeled and expanded in the existing space on the ground (D1) and concourse (L1) levels. 
    • Visual Art: An expanded 2200 square foot professional gallery will be located off the new entrance lobby and a smaller student gallery will be located down the hall in newly remodeled space.  The larger professional gallery will be a bi-level space with both space and infrastructure to handle large scale sculptural installations. Gallery windows opening onto the central corridor and to the lobby will bring natural light into the new gallery. 2-D Art studios will expand in existing spaces on the ground (D1) level. Visual Art Labs will also receive updated ventilation.  A dedicated raked classroom will be assigned to Art History.
  • Molinaro Hall:  The project also remodels space in the Molinaro Hall for 3-D art programs such as sculpture and ceramics. Sculpture studios will be renovated and Ceramics studios will be relocated from Communication Arts to space adjacent to the sculpture lab. All 3D spaces will receive updated ventilation. 
  • Sculpture Courtyard:  A 600 GSF semi-enclosed prefabricated metal building will be constructed on the east side of Wood Road (County Highway G).   
  •  Hall:  The project also provides new Digital arts computer labs and a State-of-the-art distance education classroom in  Hall.  A storefront office and distance classroom will be created on the building's pedestrian-intensive ground (D1) level.  

​Specifications For Artwork

The selection committee has identified both interior locations and an exterior location. The selection committee is also interested in exploring additional interior locations that the artists might identify. There are existing site restrictions and campus traffic patterns that will limit the availability of exterior spaces. Due to the advanced construction schedule, this project is seeking a discreet artwork rather an artwork integrated into the architecture. 

Potential Locations

  1. The two story main lobby cube- aerial space. [image] [image]
  2. Various wall spaces with the main lobby cube. [image] [image]
  3. ​The potential exterior location is the located on the south exterior wall next to the entrance lobby. [image] [image]

Conceptual Considerations

The selection committee is seeking artwork that celebrates the arts on this campus. The audience for this facility will include students and faculty who will be using this facility daily, along with members of the surrounding communities who will attend Theater performances, Music concerts and Gallery receptions in the new Regional Arts Center.   In addition the committee is interested in artwork that:

  • encourages creativity, critical thinking and inspiration without the use of stereotypical symbolism.
  • references unity among the Theater, Music and Art departments.
  • references the scope of the activities that will occur in the facility without using  stereotypical imagery.
  • utilizes abstract (non literal) ways of visualizing these themes.
  • contains multiple layers of metaphoric meaning.
  • has a strong intellectual and poetic dimension.
  • is timeless and bears repeated viewing over time.
  • is complex enough to allow viewers to learn from it over time and provides a sense of discovery.
  • serves as an ambassador - the artwork needs to be appealing and accessible to both arts and non-arts people.


The selection committee is interested in durable, permanent materials that support the artist's concept and require minimal maintenance.​