New Craft Center is a gem amid EMU construction project

It’s not easy to find the Craft Center in its new space in Erb Memorial Union, which is undergoing a massive, three-year renovation.

But once you walk into the new center, tucked away in the EMU basement, you’ll find a purpose-built space with well-lit studios, occupied by students and other artisans grinding, shaping, spinning, printing, torching, cutting and otherwise creating.

“It’s a really amazing space for us,” office coordinator David Wagner said. “We got to start fresh.”

The new space is about the same square footage as the old center, or maybe slightly smaller, but it feels bigger, Wagner said.

“It’s designed as a craft center space,” said Dan Geiger, coordinator of the EMU renovation project. “It’s much more efficient use of space.”

The center opened last June. While many EMU tenants moved temporarily to MacArthur Court, the craft center was moved into its new space, next to the copy center.

Among the center’s new features is a dedicated painting and drawing studio; a large, covered, outdoor glass blowing studio; and a larger dark room for processing photographs.

Much of the basic infrastructure has been updated as well, including new lockers, new furniture and new work tables.

The center is a non-academic education facility, open to students, faculty and staff members as well as community members. Most workshops are open to beginners and are taught by accomplished artisans.

While the center is a bit hard to find now, once the EMU renovation is complete in the fall of 2016 “we get to be a central part of the student union,” Wagner said. “It will be much more visible, much more accessible.”