Mar 21st, 2022, 08:00 AM

Monttessuy Center of the Arts Opens to Mixed Feelings

By Mia Baccei
Image credit: Sofia Rose
The opening of the new Monttessuy building dedicated to arts has left students and faculty feeling both excited and let-down.

When the school promised its students and faculty a new building dedicated to the fine arts, AUP’s art community couldn’t help but be excited. With art history being one of the biggest majors at AUP, and professors having to fight for the limited classroom space, it was exciting that it and many other majors and minors were being recognized as important enough to have their own space. 

“I love it, I feel like it’s really different from the other buildings that I have my classes in at AUP. I don’t mind that it’s far at all because it has such a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.” said Eve Baxter, visiting student. “I think all of the rooms foster a really creative space because they’re not traditional classroom structures.” 

Image credit: Sofia Rose 

However, while some are happy with the new building, others are dissatisfied after noticing some problems as well as unfinished projects in the building. 

To begin with, the building itself has major problems. Other than the fact that all the classrooms have outdated projectors that shine bright lights directly into the faces of the professors who are teaching, the ceilings are also remarkably low. It forces the professors to be less interactive with their classes in order to avoid the light shining directly into their eyes.

“We have some issues, like you can’t walk in front of the projectors, so [professors] are stuck in the corner. It’s a little complicated because the ceilings are so low, in Combes the first floor classrooms have very high ceilings, and I didn’t realize that with art history projections what a big difference that makes,” said Art History and Fine Arts Professor Anna Russakoff.

The tradeoff for this difficulty is the wonderful sense of community that the professors feel like they have, but they should not have to suffer in their classrooms to feel this communal unity. 

Another qualm that has been presented is the lack of mailboxes in the building. Several teachers have picked up and moved to the new building only to find that there are no mailboxes for them, so if they need to receive something that a student left in their mailbox they must travel to their old office, which defeats the point of the ease of having an entire building dedicated to the arts.

Image credit: Sofia Rose 

On top of the difficulties for professors, there are also issues for the students. While every other building on the AUP campus has a place for the students to hang out indoors and study or do work in between their classes, the Monttessuy building does not.

“The challenge I’ve found is that there isn’t much space to spend time in around here,” said junior Agata Ida Kozuchowska. “I just come here for classes, I don’t come here to study or enjoy my time.” The students must travel to the nearest building, Combes, even if they have no classes there, or hang out outside of Monttessuy in between classes. This again defeats the ease of one building dedicated to the arts if students must constantly be running back and forth in between classes. 

Another difficulty that some students have been made aware of is the lack of accessibility. Unlike most of the other buildings on campus, there is no accessible way for students with disabilities to enter the building or move around in it.

Image credit: Sofia Rose 

“I definitely think that it is an ongoing issue considering that I’ve run into issues of accessibility before. I’m very surprised that Monttessuy is a new building and I was a student when it was being built," said sophomore John Velez. "You would think especially since it’s newer and they know that they have a student–at least one–in a wheelchair, you would think that they would put more thought into accessibility, considering legally they have to. " He has struggled entering the building on numerous occasions and must ask staff every time he wants to enter.

This is not the only building on the AUP campus that is not accessible, but because it is a newer building there are certain expectations that the university would accommodate all of their students. 

All of this brings one question to mind; why open a building for the purpose of ease if nothing about it is easy? The art faculty and students are all very grateful to have a building dedicated to them, but they both should have all of the same perks as the other buildings across campus.

Additional reporting contributed by Sarah (Figgy) Cronin.