Kimball Art Center will move this month
October 2, 2015
The Kimball Art Center’s move from Old Town to its temporary digs at Bonanza Park is going as planned.
Although the grand opening is scheduled for Oct. 24, the staff and art teachers will begin offering art classes in the new space on Monday, Oct. 19, according to Kathy Kennedy, the KAC managing director.
"We will begin moving the classroom equipment the weekend prior, so we will balance teaching and moving that week," Kennedy said when The Park Record took a tour of the new space last week. "The classrooms in the new building are located upstairs and downstairs and are all similar or larger in area than the classroom spaces in the current art center."
The new space, which will house the KAC for about three years, is located at 1401 Kearns Blvd., and is the former home of a religious organization known as The Branch — a Vineyard Community.
It features plenty of area for multiple classes and one room is large enough to split in two if needed, Kennedy said.
"We can use it for a large Young Artists Academy room, or put in a temporary wall that can open up to make room for 60 kids," she said. "We also have space for a digital lab that can house 10 computers."
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One class that the staff won’t offer now is the film darkroom class.
"We aren’t offering that in this space, but we are keeping the equipment for use in our permanent space," Kennedy said.
The staff is especially excited for the new indoor/outdoor ceramics studio that will be located in a renovated compartmental storage shed behind the new building.
The total area is about 2,200 square feet and Jarrett Moe from Gigaplex Architects has been working with the city to solidify the plans.
"We’re going to gut the walls so there will be one open space that will be used primarily for ceramics classes," said Moe, who is also a ceramicist. "We want to preserve the openings so we can just lift up the doors."
The plan is to continue to offer ceramics classes in the Old Town location until the new studio is finished, according to Kennedy.
However, the classrooms and studio aren’t the only areas that are being renovated, she said.
"The front doors will be mostly glass and we’ll apply some stucco there that will highlight portions of the stone exterior," Kennedy said. "We’ll also have some steps leading up to the doors."
Even the wall near the entryway will be filled with art.
"We’re planning to install a mural on one side and use the other side for our street-art class," Kennedy said.
The entryway will be framed by the front desk and Kimball Art Center gift shop, said KAC Marketing and Events Director David March.
"The main gallery will be located just beyond those areas," March said. "It’s roughly the same square feet as the current gallery and we will install an audio system for Art Talks."
The main gallery already features a permanent pull-down movie screen and projector that will be used for these free monthly presentations, Kennedy said.
"This way, if an artist or presenter wants to use them, we’ll have them at our disposal," she said.
Built in the late 1970s, the building was originally a mortuary and then was turned into the church, said Moe, whose renderings keep the structure mostly intact.
"Didn’t do any major changes of the building’s design," he said. "We just did some minor changes, but kept the main gallery floor as cement to keep the personality of the area."
There were a few small surprises as CDR Construction began prepping the building for renovation, Kennedy said.
"The folks that were [originally] instrumental in changing the mortuary into the church wrote down scriptures in different parts of the building," she said. "We found many verses written in places that we tore up. It was like the ‘DaVinci Code’ and kind of fun to see."
In addition, the new digs will feature an array of office spaces for the Kimball Art Center staff.
"In the current building, we have only a few closed office spaces, and our staff has grown over the years," Kennedy said. "So, we will have real office spaces here."
On top of the offices will be plenty of storage space.
"They made the support so strong that we can store a lot of heavy things or even take a nap up there," she said.
There is even a playground in the back, as an added bonus.
"It’s ours, but we’re going to donate the playground equipment to soon-to-be-determined nonprofit," Kennedy said.
Still, the outside area will keep with the Kimball Art Center’s mission of being "committed to engaging individuals of all ages in diverse and inspiring experiences through education, exhibitions and events."
The sidewalks are highlighted by water-activated art by a Washington-state-based group called Rainworks, and one of the installations is an educational piece about water in Utah, Kennedy explained.
"It’s a mural that gives a water tour from the rain and snow pack to the rivers and tributaries to human usage that includes industrial, residential and agricultural," she said. "This art will be part of our school art tours."
Another section of the sidewalk features a more Park City-esque image, a freestyle skier with a moniker that reads, "Good things happen in high altitudes."
"Leave it up to kids in Seattle to come up with something that will make water-activated art that will be ever present and bring a smile to your face," said Robin Marrouche, Kimball Art Center executive director. "We have similar works on the upper deck of our current location in Old Town."
"These works of art are invisible until they get wet," Kennedy said. "They will stay intact for a few months and then eventually wear off."
As the architect, Moe said he enjoyed working closely with the Kimball Art Center staff on the project.
"It’s always great to understand what the users need from the beginning," he said. "There were a few technical challenges that we had to overcome to convert the church into an art space, because there are always things you wrestle with when you reappropriate an existing space. But working with the structure itself was pretty easy and we were able to go through the process pretty smoothly."
The next step is to prepare for the grand opening on Oct. 24, and then meet with the Sundance Institute about the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
For years, the festival has used the Kimball Art Center’s Old Town location as a performance venue, Marrouche said.
"We’ve had a great relationship with them and are looking forward to working with them again, but we haven’t been able to have a discussion about the new space," she said. "We’ve been so busy with the renovation that we haven’t really explored that yet."
For more information, or to register for Kimball Art Center’s art classes, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org.