Since the Urban Art Center’s development across the tracks on the East side of Downtown, inner city school teachers have been buzzing with excitement. The $11.5 million dollar project was absorbed through federal grants applied for and received by Professor Stewart Manning of the Urban Action Association (UAA). Since Mr. Manning’s acceptance to the UAA’s board of directors, he has been aggressively seeking new ways to engage and challenge the inner city youth. With school systems maxed out on resources and an ever growing ratio of student to teacher classrooms, the Urban Art Center was seen as an absolute necessity for community relief.
When ground was broken back in early February of 2012, estimates on completion ranged widely from 2 to 5 years. Construction schedules progressed more quickly than expected and today, Jan 14th, 2015 the Urban Art Center opened its doors to the general public. Boasting an impressive 11,000 square feet, the center provides a mecca of imagination and learning for inner city children. An impressive display of built in facilities help to provide limitless potential.
The Urban Art Center’s main amenities include:
An expansive greenhouse covers a hydroponic garden greeting guests into the facility. A variety of tropical plants and trees grow freely on either side of a cobble stone pathway leading from the outside main entrance to a secondary entrance into the main art center. A synthetic waterfall cascades down over the stone walls on either side of the walkway spraying a cool refreshing mist into the air. Exotic, imported butterflies from all over the world enjoy the habitat and flutter about freely.
Past the entrance atrium’s secondary entrance lies a state of the art 4,000 square foot multi-purpose room for seminars or group gatherings. Super screen Smartboards have been installed on each of the four main walls and tracks running across the length and width of the room provide options for break-away divider walls for multiple classrooms.
State of the Art Galleria
The crown jewel of the Urban Art Center is the state of the art galleria complete with glass covered show spaces for art pieces and a surround sound system for voice guided group tours.
The craft center was a late addition to the project but is expected to be one of the key pieces to the center. Complete with work tables, sinks, and an array of constantly stocked materials, students are challenged to practice some of the techniques and designs the galleria has to offer.
The Urban Art Center has been billed to be the inspirational nerve center of the inner city. So far, its potential seems limitless. With the ability to not only display, but also to teach and entertain, the project seems destined for success. Early reviews from students attending the center have been spectacular and the excitement is palpable.