Art Moves East / Evan Espinoza

Photo: Auditorium at East Campus as of 1/24/2022. The renovations will see the auditorium and surrounding former junior high buildings become the re-imagined Gore Arts Complex.

Mississippi College’s East Campus, home to the old Clinton Junior High building and Gore Arts Complex, is well underway of being remodeled. Since the spring of 2021, the art department at MC has planned to expand to that side of campus to maximize efficiency of operations and services to students once the renovations are complete. The move means most of the studio art programs in Aven will be moving over to the Gore Arts Complex at East Campus. This move will make more space available in Aven for graphic design programs, as well as the communication and music departments. The art department’s utilization of East Campus will bring new programs and opportunities for students involved in the art department and anyone with an interest in the classes they offer. Graduate students will be able to make use of offices and personal work spaces at East Campus.

The art department’s administrative assistant, Nathan Jarnagin, as well as Department Chair Randolph Miley, discussed some of the plans the department has for its future at East Campus. Dr. Miley described the new facilities as a “studio environment for all of the hands-on art courses at MC.” The art department will be able to have more and bigger classes with the expanded facilities and will have opportunities to create brand new classes to compliment additional art majors and minors at MC. “The move will triple the size of our program and allow a great deal of growth between studio art as well as graphic design,” said Miley. The growth will see the addition of things like a legitimate dark room in Aven for a digital photography program and studios at East Campus for new woodworking and sculpting programs. The auditorium at East Campus will also provide theatre programs at MC a place for practicing and performing in a spot built for the sole purpose of those programs. 

The art department at MC has quickly been outgrowing its home in Aven. Over the past few years, it has only been harder for the department to use Aven as a place to comfortably execute all of the art programs and make use of new equipment that can make those programs so much greater. “We’ve been in a critical space issue for many years,” explained Jarnagin. “We have made do with the space assigned to us 50 years ago, but we have a much bigger program now. We have no space for studio art or graphic design to grow.” With the art department utilizing studio art to create more classes for non-majors, demand has skyrocketed for more space and a re-evaluation of the studio art program’s facilities. Ceramics is another program that has seen some of the major growth in the art department. The addition of new kilns over at East Campus will be huge for the ceramics program and allow for more classes and more participation.

The Gore Arts Complex at East Campus is also getting special treatment from a former Choctaw. Katie Jo Chane, a former interior design student at MC, is the interior designer for the remodeling proceedings. Chane is on staff as an interior designer with CDFL, a Jackson-based architecture and engineering team. “It was a really cool thing to see an MC graduate given the responsibility of the interior design on this project,” said Miley. “She’s got some really great ideas and we’re very excited.” Chane’s talent will offer the art department a fresh look at what their studios can achieve. Her plans are allowing the department to make the expansions they want and need for all the students within the studio art and graphic art programs at MC.

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