Patron Saint


Note: This story was originally featured in the Winter 2011-12 issue of Berry magazine

Associate Professor of Fine Arts Brad Adams was understandably shocked last February when he received an email from an anonymous sender identified only as “Berry Fine Arts Fan” offering funding for much-needed renovations in the Moon Building as well as a new visual arts scholarship. 

Adams’ skepticism quickly turned to admiration as the anonymous donor not only lived up to the initial $100,000 com­mitment for facilities upgrades, but also matched that amount when establishing a new endowed scholarship, awarded for the first time this spring. 

“I am very grateful that the funds were donated and hope the anonymous donor is pleased with the vast improvements to our facilities as well as the improved learning opportunities for our students,” Adams stated. “I think this investment bodes well for the art program at Berry with improved facilities support­ing a strong curriculum.”

Patron Saint 1Rebecca Buglio, an art education major, is just one of the many students enjoying the new learning oppor­tunities that the Moon reno­vations provide.

“We needed new equipment to keep the art program growing and thriving, and that’s exactly what was given to us,” she said. “It’s people like this donor who make creating art worthwhile because they can see the impor­tance of having an art program and teaching others about it.”

The physical improvements to the Moon Building are extensive, including complete renovation of the gallery space, a dedicated computer lab for visual arts students, a new classroom on the second floor, an expanded darkroom, a new podium for the art history auditorium, and a computer-controlled kiln for ceramics.

The gallery renovations are particularly impressive. Sheet­rock mounted over plywood has replaced the dark carpeting that once covered the walls. White paint throughout has increased the amount of light while also providing the perfect back­ground for artists to display their works. Additional exhibit space has been created by adding a new wall that covers the windows on the west side of the gallery.

“The new gallery has been well received by all,” said Associate Professor Jere Lykins, gallery director. “It has always been the center of our program, and now it is first class. Overall attendance has increased, reflecting new interest from our students and the community.”

Learning opportunities for students have been significantly enhanced by the new computer lab, which includes 12 state-of-the-art work stations for students and one for the instructor.

“It is our lab in our building, and all of us find it inviting and extremely functional,” Lykins said. “It will be extremely important to us as we enhance our program offerings to include more design courses.”

Echoed Adams, “Now we have a space constructed to our particular curricular needs, classroom-specific software and more flexibility in scheduling classes. Converting the space that was previously used for drawing and painting also allowed for the darkroom to be enlarged to accommodate more students and for a smaller general classroom space to be constructed.”

Patron Saint 2Another notable upgrade is the computer-controlled kiln, which incorporates a “lid lifter” that makes raising the lid both easier and safer. It also has a special venting system that removes fumes and gases from the classroom and a “zone control” feature that automatically senses and corrects temperature differences.

“This is my 40th year as an art faculty member,” said Lykins, who oversaw the planning and execution of the summer renovations alongside Dr. Stan Pethel, chair of fine arts, who provided on-site assistance and managed the budget for the project. “In that time, this is the most extensive and important set of improvements to our visual art facilities that I have seen. We are blessed and extremely thankful for the generosity of the donor.”