After our article "Art School. Art Store?" came out we heard rumors that in fact there was an art store planned as part of the new campus expansion. So, we sat down with a member of Senior Team, Dr. Laura Kiralla, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Student Affairs, and asked her the hard questions.

Us: Is there going to be an art store?

Dr. Kiralla: Yes, yes, yes!…We know there’s a need. That’s why, in our campus improvement project, we’ve been ensuring that absolutely there will be a store.

Us: Where is it going to be?

Dr. Kiralla: The plans are still in flux. Ideally, it’s probably going to be in the Ahmanson building first floor. The first floor of this building is going to be reconfigured so it’ll be centralized, but if you know anything about architectural plans and improvement plans, things constantly get juggled around. But it’ll be central so…it’ll be accessible for students.

Us: What products will the store sell?

Dr. Kiralla: We don't know and we’re going to need student voice on that. All of the campus improvement project will open Fall of 2016 so we have still some distance. When we get closer to breaking ground and plans become finalized, we’re going to pull students in to say, “Ok. We have the space. We’re calling it a store.  What do you want in the store?” I think what’s going to be important when we look at art supplies is that we’re going to need your voice to tell us what are the supplies that we need to have on hand. Because it’s not going to be a Blick of Graphaid. You know, we can’t become a big art store but we want grab-and-go [items], the essentials. Where someone’s like oh, I just need to run downstairs and get…pencils or a kneaded eraser, and quickly grab [those items]. We want to make sure it has that. And it will also have Otis branded gear. [We will also have] convenience items. You know, when you go into a store and there’s packs of gum and chips, so there will be some snacky things like that too.

       Campus improvement
 will be done and ready for use
 Fall of  2016

Us: Do you think the cafe will be mad about that?

Dr. Kiralla : That is all changing as well. [more information can be found at]  Part of the new footprint includes a whole new dining hall so our dining features will change. It will be like what you see on other campuses and other art and design schools. So there will be a dining hall. There will also be a grab and go cafe so, like the Starbucks cafe, it’ll also have juices and hot soups. It’s not going to be a Starbucks we don’t believe. We’re looking at Groundworks. We think Groundworks [might be] a better coffee to serve, so we’re looking at all of these types of things.

Us: Who would run and manage the store? Perhaps students?

Dr. Kiralla: Absolutely. We haven’t decided who we’re going to outsource with [yet]. You outsource with a large college dining company and then they bring in student managers and they’ll train the students. I’m in favor of more jobs on campus to keep students working on campus. And especially because we’re talking late hours so I’d rather have you all in the coffee shop at 10 o’clock at night. I also think it’s great for community building. You know, students can come in and be like “Hey Shelby.”

Us: Can students and teachers suggest supplies?

Dr. Kiralla: Yes. Anyone can suggest supplies… We need feedback. To have some of those [mandatory choice] items in our bookstore and available is going to be important.

Anyone can
suggest art supplies.

Us: Who will be the supplier?

Dr. Kiralla: We don’t know yet. That’s going to be in a bit so any art supply store in the area is called a request for proposal. They will have to come to the table and do that so it’s up to them to package it for us. And then we’ll decide what is going to be the best for our students so it’s too early to know that. But do students have an opinion of an art store? We want it to be able to fit what you all can afford.

Us: Will students be able to order particular supplies?

Dr. Kiralla: We haven't thought about that. To order specific things. But here’s the thing. If we have a brand name so lets say we do end up getting Blick or Graphaids then they're doing a satellite store so they could easily go back to their larger stores. Yes. I could see that working out.

So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen. We are officially getting an art store! And again if you'd like to know more about the campus improvements you can visit: 

- Shelby & Jackie -


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