Students and Faculty Share Their Reactions to MMC’s Groundbreaking New Visual Arts Center
As part of Homecoming Weekend 2022, MMC invites alums, parents, and friends to tour The Judy—the 12,000-square-foot Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts that opened in Carson Hall this August. The Judy is a cross-disciplinary creative hub that will bring together the College’s full range of visual arts, from graphic design, illustration, and animation to costume design, web design, and book design. We asked faculty and students currently teaching or taking classes there to share their thoughts on the space and what it means for the community.
Naima Porter ’23, Photography Major
I got to see The Judy on my very first day back this semester. I have a drawing class there, and as I walked through the center, I was blown away by how beautiful it was. I’m a senior, and it almost makes me wish I had more time at Marymount so that I could see what comes of it. We have so many more resources now, and I feel like it’s giving everyone a new sense of purpose, that with the new facilities, people can come in and give their all to their art, which I love.
My favorite part of the space is the skylights and how everything is set up so you can see right into the classrooms. I have a better sense of who’s in my program now. I’ve been interacting with more art majors and recognize more of their faces. We definitely have a deeper sense of community within The Judy.
Julia Gran, Assistant Professor, Art and Art History
I teach a class in Room 705, The Judy’s digital computer lab, and when my students walked in for the first time, they just kind of released this breath because it is a very different feel, a much lighter feel. The amount of light is really lovely. It affects them, and it affects me. In fact, the number one thing I’ve noticed is that my students don’t look at their phones as much. The room feels airier and lighter, and they’re much more engrossed in their work.
With The Judy, I think our students get the message that we are backing them in terms of their art. That we take their learning seriously—we take art seriously. It shows our investment in how we think art should be taught and its importance in a liberal arts education. Steve Jobs and many other CEOs have said that art opens up another channel of thinking and seeing the world, which is true.
The Judy is an unbelievable gift, and I hope we achieve equally unbelievable results from it. I’m very optimistic and excited to see how the semester and the spring semester progress and when we start to recruit and do our open houses.
We have so many more resources now, and I feel like it’s giving everyone a new sense of purpose, that with the new facilities, people can come in and give their all to their art, which I love. —Naima Porter ’23
Kayla Gibbons, Adjunct Professor, Art and Art History
I’m a new adjunct, so I don’t have the context of the space in its previous iteration. But I will say that based on my experience in other studios and institutions in New York and elsewhere, it makes a difference when everyone can come together and brainstorm in a beautiful, wonderfully lit, uncluttered space. It makes the possibilities feel pretty limitless for the students. I’m teaching 3D Practices, which is being offered for the first time this semester, and I think they were a bit nervous to dig in at first because the center is still so new—it’s so tidy and perfect and clean—but we’ve gotten over the hump. We’ll certainly take care of the space, but we’re ready to break it in!
Chloe Portalatin ’24, Double Major, BFA Film and Media Production and Illustration and Animation
I like that they’ve taken the center’s aesthetics into account in addition to making it functional. Before The Judy, my art classes were in a very quiet, secluded space where nobody would want to just hang out. But now that we have the common area in The Judy and the classrooms are so pretty, that’ll definitely be an incentive for other MMC students to come up to the eighth and seventh floors and be exposed to areas of art that they wouldn’t have necessarily been exposed to before.
I think one of my favorite spaces at the center is the digital immersion lab. I see so many opportunities with that, especially because the Communication and Media Arts department has a new Interactive Media minor that draws from CMA production courses and Art courses. In general, I’m really happy that MMC is bringing more new media experiences into traditional art spaces.
Seeing the new center and all of our new equipment makes me feel like we’re going to be one of the top schools for art students. I’m excited to see where The Judy will take us in the future.
Millie Falcaro, Professor, Art and Art History
It’s pretty breathtaking in terms of architecture: the natural elements, the light, the space. The beautiful materials, palette, and color are all conducive to students’ learning. It creates this positive, aesthetic environment, encouraging them to do their best. With The Judy, we’re able to expand our curriculum, and that’s a very big thing. We have 3D and a studio for photography students to do their work. We have state-of-the-art cameras, equipment, and printers. The facilities are now in sync with the program’s design, direction, and goals.
Our students have friends all over the city. They visit different colleges, and now I think their friends will want to come to see our center as well.
We’re eternally grateful to Judy Carson. Nothing like this has ever been done for the College before. I think this is her showing complete and total support for the faculty, some of whom she’s known for decades, and it’s really been a great compliment. Her confidence in the faculty to execute our art program is an honor.