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Art and engineering students connect in new project space

A new building unites students from the art and engineering departments to work in a space together.

The Peer-Andrus Studio and Project Barn is designed for students to use both creatively and technically. A $3.25 million building, the barn houses space for engineering and art students to use as their project space. A 16,800 square foot facility, it is located near the nursing and engineering buildings on the northwest corner of campus.

The building inherited its name from the two art professors who have been working in tandem at John Brown University since 1990; Charles Peer, a retired professor of visual arts, and David Andrus, department head and professor of visual arts. The barn’s original purpose was to provide a creative space for art students. However, others in charge of creating the space wanted to provide a platform for the engineering students as well.

Andrus said that before the art barn, there was not a space substantial enough to house projects. “The thing that we found was missing in those buildings [Visual Arts East and West] was dirty space to build with.”

Andrus said that his favorite spot in the art barn is the creative space where he can paint in solitude. “I’m an introvert, so I love coming here when the space is vacant … I just think it’s an inspiring space.”

Nikolay Yakovlev, sophomore engineering student, said that he is still trying to find the best arrangement for the engineering department. “It’s all new, so we don’t know what we want to do with the space yet, so we’re just experimenting with putting stuff here and there.”

Yakovlev said that the new space will be helpful in comparison to the small space engineering students used in the past. “We have a high bay in the engineering building, but it’s really small, so it was kind of conflicting with other projects and classes.”

The new building will attract more people to JBU, Yakovlev said. “I think it’s really going to help spur the significance of the senior design projects, because with the new space we can have bigger companies coming through, knowing that we have the equipment and the space … and not be confined to a small lab.”

Grace Smith, sophomore graphic design major, said that she is also excited about the new things the project center will bring to her field. “I would use [it] for projects and stuff because since the art buildings are way over there, it’s just a new atmosphere, so more creativity flowing.”

Smith said that the studio brings a unique opportunity to be with students of other majors. “It’s nice to have a building where it’s not just people that are your major, so you get to work with other people and get other people’s opinions, and just be in a different atmosphere. It’s a nice change.

Andrus said that the art barn fulfills the need for creative space for art students. “To be able to do something and leave it set up and not be in anybody’s way just doesn’t exist. The barn has been the answer to the cry of many art and engineering students and will serve them in their studies for years to come.”