The VRC (Visual Resources Center) is a one of a kind, state of the arts, learning and research facilities for art faculty and students. The Resources at the center are carefully selected and consist of tutorials created by art faculty, 500 plus art DVD’s that range from prehistoric art to contemporary art and interactive CD ROMS for drilling art vocabulary and for students to go on virtual tours of museums around the world. Special presentations of our old slide collection are also available.
The original center consisted of a collection of over 60,000 art images in slide format collected in a period of over 40 years by art and art history faculty. Today, about one third of that collection is digitized and in our computers for both faculty and student use, this was an important upgrade since in the past students did not have access to the slide images, they were too difficult to distribute and manage.
In 1997 the Visual Resources Center moved into a beautiful new space at the Martin and Pat Fine Arts Annex and we also received 20 Mac computers for student use. That year, Marily Snow, director of the Berkley University architecture resources collections, did a survey documenting the top 20 centers located in universities across the nation. The survey listed the most beautiful architectural spaces as well as environments that were implementing technology. Our center was placed as one of the top in the list for both it’s architecture and it’s new technology. We were selected along with facilities in major universities such as Cornell University, Chicago Art Institute and Emory University. We continue to upgrade our technology and increase our resources as more artists are degreed.
Currently over 700 students per semester visit the center, ranging from non-art majors, to advanced studio and art history majors.
Our faculty use the center with students creatively; for the beginning students, they give assignments were the students draw from resources at the center. The students take notes “drawing” in addition to the written word. The results have been surprising. Many of the art appreciation students reveal how this is the first time they drawn since childhood . Many end up enrolling in studio art courses and even become art majors, graduating with special honors.
For the advanced studio/art history students the center provides the most sophisticated and comprehensive collection of art images, facts and artists’ videos. These videos are essential learning tools since the artists , reveal the materials that they use, their influences and how they live. An advanced student can privately view these, get ideas for materials, learn technical processes and view how an artist can become successful.
The goal of the center is to give every student an opportunity to see the most up-to-date artistic representations and provide the tools to explore and take creative risks.