University of Tampa to revamp arts studio into maker space

The University of Tampa plans to update its arts studios into maker spaces, where students will have access to cutting-edge creative tools and technologies. Among the additions to the University’s renovated Bailey Arts Studios will be laser cutters, 3D printers, large format printers, and vinyl cutters.

Serving as the centerpiece will be the entrepreneurially focused digital fabrication laboratory (FabLab), where students and faculty will be encouraged to collaborate.

“The FabLab is an incubator space where creative minds, inventors, designers, entrepreneurs and artists have access to tools and technologies to turn their ideas and dreams into prototypes and products,” says David Gudelunas, dean of the UT College of Arts and Letters. “Ultimately it is a space that encourages experiential education where students can take their artistic ideas and turn them into physical products, and an entrepreneurially focused space that will encourage big ideas and new prototypes”

Over the past year, UT’s art and design department has revamped its course offerings to “reflect how the visual arts are both created and appreciated in the 21st century,” Gudelunas says. The focus has been on expanding coursework to include hands-on, experiential learning. Among the new offerings are majors in art therapy and museum studies. Current BFA and BA programs have been reworked to include digital technologies.

The maker space will be aimed at attracting multi-disciplinary students. Besides the FabLab, the arts studio will feature an updated photography studio, printmaking studio, and additions to the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery.

The architects will be Tampa-based Eric Kreher and Bob Shumake. The general contractor is Orlando-based Friedrich Watkins. Gudelunas declined to share the cost of renovations.

This summer saw the UT campus buzzing with construction projects. Among them: Smiley Hall, Riverside Center, and Brevard Avenue and Spaulding Drive underwent renovations. 
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Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer and born-again Floridian based in Tampa. He covers the Tampa Bay Area’s development boom for 83 Degrees, with an eye out for sustainable and community-driven initiatives.