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Artists Stand the Heat!

When I was younger, I drew a little. I was no great shakes, but still, it was a pastime that brought me substantial pleasure. Nevertheless, at some point the hobby fell to the wayside, and I hadn’t thought of it much for years, not until the end of January.

My friend Marcella had been given free range of her friend’s art studio for the month, since said artist was away from campus, and she took to painting pleasant little watercolors in the space. I visited the studio a couple of times. Seeing all the paints and chicken wire and driftwood sculptures scattered higgledy-piggledy about the place put me in an artistic mood.

Long story short, I recalled my early attempts at draughtsmanship and purchased a set of utensils and a sketchbook for a few bucks. In my spare time I have done some scribbling, mostly of landscapes occluded by geometric figures (don’t ask me why), and it has been a relaxing way to detach. I’m glad this is a skill I’ve taken to cultivating again. Instead of trying to say any more about my drawing, though, I would much rather talk about the art studios and the building that houses them.

An unsuspecting visitor could easily be surprised if they happened to stumble through the front doors of the Korsrud Heating Plant. Instead of boilers and heavy machinery, they would find paints, pallets, and pictures hung up on the walls. The top floor, onetime home of the art program, remains student studios to this day. What’s all the more incredible is that the basement continues to provide the steam necessary to heat almost the entire campus (and has done so since 1947). (If you’re really want to know more about steam, click here!)

All of this heating underfoot means that the upper floor can get a little toasty (especially when the sun comes streaming in) but I think this adds to the appeal. The best art can’t possibly be made in comfortable, climate-controlled studios. Instead, it appears in sweltering garrets, noisy alcoves, and repurposed industrial buildings.

Let me tell you, Korsrud is just the place! It’s hot and it’s grimy, covered in a hundred layers of paint drippings, full of drawers so warped and rusted they wont open, just outside, someone’s splatter-painting project from years ago has left an indelible mark on the wall and sidewalk. Korsrud isn’t a place to feel comfortable, it has too may sharp points and jagged edges for that; instead, it’s a space for being agitated— for making art!

An image that denies interpretation... Or one not worth interpreting?
The Korsrud Heating Plant (And art studios)
A messy project left its mark here
A grimy sink...
... and a custodian's complaint
A view towards the river

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