Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

University dedicates new Nagel Art Studios

DU dedicated the Nagel Art Studios on Oct. 19. Donors Ralph and Trish Nagel joined Chancellor Robert Coombe, right, for the dedication.

The University of Denver celebrated its new center for drawing and painting with a dedication ceremony Tuesday afternoon that drew around 300 people to the Ralph and Trish Nagel Art Studios, the new copper-plated structure located between the Shwayder Art Building and the Ritchie Center. Classes began there in September.

Built along with the University of Denver Soccer Stadium and the Pat Bowlen Training Center for DU’s athletic teams, the 12,500-square-foot structure features a large, open studio area, high ceilings, concrete floors, movable walls and plenty of natural light. Equivalent in space to an entire floor in the Shwayder Art Building, the new studio also frees up space in Shwayder for DU’s pioneering program in electronic media arts design (eMAD). The building’s third floor has been turned from a labyrinth of classrooms and hallways into a large open space with the latest in digital equipment.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful day that shows how much the University appreciates all you do for the entire culture of the University, the city and the state,” Chancellor Robert Coombe told students and faculty of the School of Art and Art History at the ceremony.

Coombe said the art scene in Denver is “absolutely percolating,” citing recent developments at the Denver Art Museum, the Vance Kirkland Museum and the soon-to-be-built Clyfford Still Museum.

“It is an extraordinary time, and our goal is to once again position the School of Art and Art History in the center of things for the sake of our students, for the sake of our faculty, for the sake of our community,” he said, referring to the time in the 1950s and 1960s when DU was the center of modern art in Colorado thanks to Kirkland, the painter who was the director of the art school from the late 1920s until 1969.

The studio is named for Ralph and Trish Nagel, who donated $2.3 million to the project. Ralph Nagel also serves on the DU Board of Trustees.

Trish Nagel said the purpose of the studio is to “provide a welcoming home for the art spirit and the students and professors who will do their work here.”

Additional speakers were Ed Harris, vice chancellor for University Advancement, University Architect Mark Rodgers and art student Faith Williams, who thanked the Nagels for providing a student lounge as part of the new building.

“Students have long complained about not having a lounge,” she said. “Thank you for hearing our cries.”


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One Comment

  1. Gale S. McKee says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for art students at DU. I graduated in 1969 with a BFA in fine art/art education.
    Even though our buildings were rough (quonset huts, the old P.O.) and scattered far and wide, I still remember
    the “spirit” and innovation of the Art Department and students.
    I would like to suggest hosting a retrospective juried art exhibit in the new gallery. Perhaps a “Call For Entries” to
    students that attended DU during Vance Kirkland’s tenure that are still pursuing an art career.
    How interesting that would be!!!!!
    Gale S. (Levensaler) McKee

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