Sioux Center, Iowa — This spring, Dordt University opened a new design studio for art and design students.
The space, which is housed in what was previously the living room, includes new Apple computers, desks, chairs and furniture. It houses 24 models of 24-inch iMacs with an M1 chip. The desks are concealed desks, so the computers can be stored in the office, allowing the room to function as a normal classroom as well.
Graphic design instructor Vaughn Donahue says this new lab will serve students in a variety of ways. First, it will bring design classes to the art department for the first time, rather than the digital media lab down the hall. Donahue says the hope is to make a better connection between fine and applied arts by being in a shared space. Second, these new iMacs will prepare students for the job market, using industry-standard machines. Third, it will allow both art and design programs and digital media to grow now that we no longer share a physical space.
The lab will host courses such as design theory, graphic design I, II and III, courses in photography, web design, etc. The Adobe suite will be installed on iMacs, allowing students to learn the programs they will use when serving in industry.
Melissa Laarman, senior graphic design student, says it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to work in the new Mac lab. She’s enrolled in an independent photography study this semester, and she plans to stop and use the new Macs as much as possible.
The project is funded by a unique donor partnership, with one donor stepping forward to make an initial donation and receiving company matching, then reaching out to several other alumni who are passionate about the project. The group wanted to give students the opportunity to practice the tools they will use in the industry.