COLUMBIA — “We’re the weird kids. This is where the weird kids come to play,” Amy Hay, the adviser of the Craft Studio said. “This isn’t a place where all the student leaders gather.”
The MSA/GPC Craft Studio, located in the lower level of MU's Memorial Student Union, has only known one other home in the 43 years it's been open. But the studio may be closing its doors in December, unless it finds another location for the spring semester, Hay said.
The studio is being forced to relocate while a deteriorating pipe is renovated, but Hay isn't sure they will be able to find a location within such short notice.
Since 1973, the studio has evolved from one room in MU's Brady Commons, to four different rooms at Memorial Student Union, with each room dedicated to a different art medium. The studio has already gone through one closing, when Brady Commons went through renovations in 2008, but students successfully saved the space.
By that time, there was no room for the studio in the MU Student Center. But having a year's notice, they were able to find their current location in the basement of Memorial Student Union, Hay said.
Hay believes this possible closing will affect more than just students majoring in art.
“We’re a place for students who don’t really fit in a lot of other places,” Hay said. “People who have a really intense academic program come here as a place to relax.”
Some students like Grace Doran, who’s majoring in civil engineering, have schedules that don’t allow them to take art courses. Doran started off attending Crafternoons, where the studio teaches small art activities, and is now teaching a class that combines the principles of engineering with the creativity of art, called Makerspace.
“It’s like combining DIY with technology,” Doran said. “It’s a way for the Craft Studio to attract a new type of audience.”
Doran and Hay said they feel that art and STEM education — education emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math — go hand-in-hand, extending it to STEAM to include art.
“Without art, technology is just a piece of copper wire," Hay said. "I can teach you how to coil a piece of copper wire, but art teaches you what to do with that. Technology teaches you how to use the tools, but art teaches you why to use the tools."
Christian Basi, the associate director of the MU News Bureau, said the university is working with the Missouri Students Association to find short and long-term solutions for the Craft Studio.
Basi also said potential closing of the studio is due to the aging building.
“There’s a sewer line that’s deteriorating with age that meets the studio," Basi said. "It’s been there since the building was built in the 1950s. Repairs will take several months to complete, so because of space and budget, the studio would have to either relocate or close.”
Jessica Bueneman, a junior at MU, said she feels because of the small deadline given to the studio, there’s not enough time to inform everyone about the possible closing, but people with other interests should still care. Bueneman started school majoring in elementary education, but eventually switched to graphic design. She compared losing the Craft Studio to athletes losing one of their spaces.
“Imagine if you didn’t have the 'rec' or the fields,” Bueneman said. “If they take away the 'rec,' you still have other options, but we only have one.”
Bueneman said she isn’t sure of other affordable options near campus where art enthusiasts can go to be visually creative.
The Craft Studio offers spaces for paint, design, woodshop, ceramics and photography. The studio is also home to the only public dark room in mid-Missouri. It also experiments with other types of visual art classes such as makeup and arm knitting classes.
While the studio won’t officially close its doors until December, they have canceled scheduled events after Oct. 28, according to a public announcement released on its website.
If the studio closes indefinitely, MU will hold an auction for its equipment at the Surplus Property warehouse, Hay said.
Basi said they do not have a set timeline for the renovations, or what their plans are for the space once it’s renovated.
Those who treat the Craft Studio as their second home recommend contacting the MSA and Student Affair representatives and posting about the closing on social media.
Some have already taken to Facebook to express their dismay with the closing of the Craft Studio.
Supervising editor is Natalia Alamdari.