The new Lamar Dodd School of Art building on East Campus formally opened recently in a dedication ceremony that honors the legacy of one of the South's leading modern artists and art educators.
The dedication also marked completion of another key facility in a plan conceived more than a decade ago to create a premier complex on East Campus for teaching, research and performance in the visual and performing arts.
The dedication was a tribute to the life and career of Lamar Dodd, the Georgia native who was head of the UGA art department from 1938 until 1973, and chairman of the division of fine arts from 1960 until his retirement in 1976. Acknowledged as one of the strongest influences on art in the South in the 20th century, Dodd was also a prolific artist who produced hundreds of works over more than 60 years.
The art school was named for Dodd in 1996, shortly before his death. A scholarship and a professorial chair in the school also carry his name.
"Lamar Dodd was a charismatic figure who created a high profile for UGA's art program," said Georgia Strange, who became director of the Dodd School in 2006. "He recruited outstanding faculty including Jack Kehoe, who started the highly regarded Cortona study-abroad program, and in many other ways provided outstanding leadership that helped make the visual arts a modern strength for the university. Naming the school for him is a wonderful way to recognize his contributions."
The new building adds significantly to the university's overall academic quality, according to Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr.
The Lamar Dodd School, one of the nation's largest university art programs with more than 1,000 students long ago outgrew the visual arts building on North Campus where it has been located since 196l. A new art building was in the plan developed in the 1990s to create a major arts complex on East Campus, but it fell in line behind other buildings.
Construction on the $40 million building began in 2006, and faculty began moving in this summer. Classes began with the start of fall semester.
Finally having most of the school's students, faculty and staff in one building is a "transformative experience," Strange said. "It gives us a new sense of community that will have a very positive impact on the quality of teaching, learning, research and creative activity. We're excited that the university and the state place such a high value on the arts."
The school's students and faculty also will benefit by having greater access to and interaction with students and faculty involved in other arts activities in the Georgia Museum of Art, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music and the Performing Arts Center, according to Strange.
The three-story, 172,000-square-foot building features many large windows and expansive interior spaces that maximize natural light. A two-story lobby atrium, with a media center mezzanine, is bisected by a central staircase that provides access to classrooms and studios.