In 1950, young men arrayed in white button-downs, neckties, khakis and dress shoes could be seen shuffling up and down the stairs of Sloane Hall at St. Michael’s College. At that time, it was a newly acquired dorm from Fort Ethan Allen, after college enrollment spiked post-World War II. Today,
that building is a studio for St. Mike’s art students. Good luck getting there though, students have lost their transportation services from main campus to north campus.
Although bleak from the outside, the illustrious studio is illuminated with paint splattered designs, catchy phrases, dark emotions and a restroom with a spray paint décor. Still, students can only see it one way – on their own terms.
According to Will Mentor, an art professor at Saint Michael’s, transportation for the art students was cut due to cost reasons. While sitting in a desolate art studio seemingly on its last legs, Mentor recalled previously teaching art courses at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He remembers a time where Washington University was planning on building a brand new, beautiful art building. But as a collective group, the University of Washing- ton art department wanted a certain building downtown, where they could really be creative. Mentor championed the idea of having a building you can “scribble” on.
The art department has taken pride in their paint-chipped, 1950s-style, red brick sanctuary. “It has its own identity,” says Emily Joyce, a senior bio- chemistry and art major. “If you were to put in a new shiny building, you’re not going to destroy and put paint all over the walls, the ceiling or shattered glass everywhere. That’s Sloane.”
“We are expected to walk there in temperatures below zero. It’s unsafe,” said Molly Clarke, a frustrated sophomore at St. Mike’s. “If your friends aren’t able to drive you, how else are you supposed to get there?”
While the mile and a half walk can be a nice way to get outside, Vermont is third in annual snowfall in
the U.S. and has the sixth lowest average annual temperature at 43.74 degrees. From late November to early April, a walk to Sloane Hall could require ice skates.
“All I know is that I have my wheelchair, and I have no idea how I would manage a carpool,” said concerned Brooklyn native Daneroy Lawrence, an accounting major. Lawrence, nicknamed “Miracle” by his Brooklyn friends, hasn’t taken an art class yet, but the school requires it for graduation for most students. However, looking ahead, he says, “I honestly have no idea” how he would get to north campus. “I think I would make it half of a mile.”
Instead of a Saint Michael’s shuttle on Hegeman avenue transporting students to and from north campus, now you can see Jeep’s, Ford’s, Volvo’s and so many more cars belonging to students shuttling themselves on their own time.