Audeh outlines her vision for Fine Arts

Audeh describes the newly created ArtSpace in Osborn

When Art History Professor and Fine Arts Administration Head Aida Audeh was an undergraduate at Cornell College, a small liberal arts institution located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she always appreciated having a place where she and her fellow arts majors could congregate and socialize together. Audeh says that the idea for the ArtSpace began to ferment in her mind when she realized that such a locale was not present at Hamline.

“It was sort of an idea that I had for a while,” she mused. “I was thinking back to my own college days, when we [arts majors] had a place to hang out and how there wasn’t something like that at Hamline.”

Realizing that Hamline’s lack of an arts lounge was a dilemma that needed to be remedied, she set up an online survey to determine students’ interest in the prospective project. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of creating the space- 77% displayed strong interest in the project, 17% had moderate interest, and only 6% said they had no interest.

“I talked to Javier [Gutierrez], the Director of Residential Life, and he thought that the Osborn lounge would be a good place [to create the space],” Audeh recalled.

Gutierrez’s prediction proved to ring true. During the ArtSpace’s grand opening on Sunday, Sept. 10, “about 30 or 40 people showed up during those five hours, and some stuck around after the party was over… We painted a mural that night, and students add to it continuously- it’s become theirs.” While Audeh isn’t 100% certain at the moment what direction the mural will take in the future. Currently it’s to be completely repainted every year, with each incoming class creating a totally new picture. The space is now utilized in a variety of ways; it is typically a place where small groups can gather, but people can also reserve it for planned events and staff can claim it for class projects.

Audeh works not only within her own field of art history but also with the Music, Creative Writing, Theatre, and Digital Arts programs, all of whom sponsor and contribute to the ArtSpace. She hopes to make the various arts fields more collaborative in the future and has already made progress on this goal through the partnership of five artistic FYSems, including her own, dealing with the topics of literature, music, creative writing, art history and studio art. The FYSems occasionally meet for events and presentations relating to the arts. Next month, they are scheduled to attend the opera The Marriage of Figaro, which will be performed at the Ordway.

In coming years, Audeh hopes to create themed housing for fine arts FYSems, on a floor in Osborn where they can all be together, much like the specific Honors and Social Justice communities today.

“So much of art happens in a collaborative way outside of class,” she explained. “[Students] really need a place to go that isn’t tied to structured assignments.” She hopes that through the ArtSpace and other fine-arts themed activities, students’ passion for the creative will be strengthened in the company of others.

Audeh envisions the ArtSpace to be a collaborative and bonding experience.