By Mallory Schake ’25, Staff Writer
November 5th 2022
Students on campus looking to be creative in the arts and music have lacked the necessary spaces to do so for years. However, with the renovation of the Murphy Chapel students will soon see more spaces on campus to tap into their creative sides.
While Fisher has long offered classes in interdisciplinary arts (formerly known as visual arts), the campus did not offer the right spaces for each of the classes to be taught. Professor Jeremy Sarachan, the Program Director of Interdisciplinary Arts, explained that in the past “the painting class was actually in a classroom, and the instructor would have to bring in the watercolors.” The lack of a designated art space created difficulties and “as a college, even if we don’t have a major in art, we need to have the facilities.”
The lack of resources for the arts led to the conversation of using the empty spaces in Murphy Hall to act as a center for the arts here at Fisher. This initiative has sparked the chapel renovation, the formation of the art studio, the dance studio space, and other creative spaces that will be available for students to use in the coming years.
The visual art studio was created from the space that was once used as a daycare, down the hall from Murphy Sub Shoppe. The space allows students to draw, paint and be visually creative with their chosen mediums. The studio is also open for student use during specified open lab hours. While supplies like canvases and paints are not provided, this area allows students a space with easels, sinks, and large tables where they can be creative and work on personal projects.
The most extreme renovation is set to begin after the Fall 2022 semester and is expected to be completed by Fall 2023. This renovation includes transforming the Murphy Chapel into a black box theater. Professor Sarachan says that the space will accommodate “between 100-150, depending on how you want the stage.” The layout will be flexible, with the stage on the ground and the seats raised above and around it. The renovations will include adding a green room, stage equipment, and a lighting grid. This new space will not prohibit students from using Cleary Auditorium, however, it will allow for an easily locatable space where people can park and enter right into the designated theater space.
Tentative plans also include the transformation of the Murphy classrooms and office spaces into individual student practice rooms for those who play instruments, storage spaces for those students who may play instruments that aren’t ‘dorm room friendly,’ and storage spaces for the theater. With the addition of the theater space that will ideally draw in an outside audience, the bathrooms will also need to be expanded to accommodate the larger crowd. These additional spaces have not secured a spot on the renovation’s timeline and are still subject to change. Finally, Professor Sarachan added that they hope to create a “better lobby, hallway, and maybe even a student gallery space” in Murphy, so it can become a center for the arts.
The dance studio, which was previously in Michaelhouse, has been relocated to Murphy following the addition of the Joseph Pellicano Wrestling Pavillion. The new Murphy Dance Studio is right around the corner from the Murphy Sub Shoppe and is available with swipe access.
Any student interested in classes in the arts can pursue the classes to fulfill either liberal arts electives or a minor in Interdisciplinary Arts. The subject offers courses for those interested in voice, acting and theater, painting and drawing, photography, and other creative fields. All courses are open to anyone with any level of experience and interest in the given area of the arts.
As the renovation start date comes closer, students will see lots of changes in Murphy. Any student looking to utilize the Art Studio can do so during the following open lab hours:
Monday: 5:45-8:45 pm
Tuesday: 10-1 pm; 1-2:30 pm; 7:45-9:15 pm
Wednesday: 6-9 pm
Thursday: 10 am-1 pm; 7:45-9:15 pm
Friday: 2:30-5 pm
Saturday: 2-6 pm
Sunday: 2-5 pm