InterArts Peer-to-Peer “Open Office” Starts Next Week

The 1104 South Wabash Avenue (Ludington Building) basement grad studio spaces can seem deadly quiet at times, but thanks to the amazing repurposing skills of a few Media MFAs, the north studio space is blossoming into a great new gathering space. The beautiful fall weather is keeping InterArts staff, faculty, and students outdoors so far this semester, but it won’t be long before we’ll all be hunkering down inside, working hard, keeping warm, and looking for spaces to take breaks!


Thesis-year media MFAs Dennis Burke (pictured on front page) and Brent Koehn (above) moved into their new north side studio space in August, and immediately set to work re-imagining their space. Once they completed setting that up, they turned to the adjacent shared space, and found it to be, well… a bit unwelcome. And dark. On a roll, they continued “discount shopping” through the freebie pile of cast-off art supplies, furniture, hardware, lighting, and building materials left behind by last spring’s departing MFA graduates.


What has emerged is a partially enclosed, yet airy furnished space in the center of the north studios, with couch and comfy chairs, television + VCR (complete with curated collection of tapes), coffee tables, some art supplies, and reference and art books. The space can be entered through some faux French doors, and is surrounded on top by open latticework, lit with the option of both overhead and indirect lighting. Other amenities previously in the space include a clean half-size refrigerator, coffee maker, and ready supply of paper plates, cups, and biodegradable forks and spoons. Already a successful “time-out” spot, it’s been reported that a number of naps were taken there during last week’s intense InterArts crit sessions.


Second-year media MFA Chris Bednash (pictured above in the Papermaker’s Garden last spring) had already been working on a new community initiative, and the newly reconfigured studio space provides the perfect setting. Starting next week, Bednash will be hosting a new info-sharing option for all InterArts students, the InterArts Peer-to-Peer Open Office Hours. The first session will be held this coming Thursday, October 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the north grad studio open space.

Says Bednash, “Making connections across the department, fostering cross pollination of ideas and collaboration are among the unique opportunities of being in the community of scholars of graduate school. I thought this idea could possibly bridge some gaps, and help keep the MFAs and MAs better connected as the semester moves ahead.”

His idea for some ways the the Peer-to-Peer sessions can be helpful are as supplements to advising meetings with faculty; collaborative investigative sessions to find answers to questions; and as a comfortable, friendly space to informally talk about art, ongoing work, how to best navigate the academic system, and life in general. “I see this as a great place to gather to toss around ideas, brainstorm, vent, rant, de-stress, get goofy, etc., as needed,” says Chris.

Those interested in getting more involved, making suggestions, facilitating a session are encouraged to contact Chris by email or a phone call to 269-355-0929.

Or, find his friendly face at the window of the InterArts Equipment Center in the 916 S. Wabash Building, second floor, which is open this fall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.