Save Our Bellevue College Art Store!

  • by: Students of Bellevue College
  • target: Rachel Solemsaas - VP Administrative Services, Faisal Jaswal, Asst Dean Student Programs, BC Art Faculty, BC Interior Design Faculty
Earlier in February, we heard that the satellite Art Store located in the C Building was slated to close. Student Programs, which administers the space, has plans to put a bank into the space and this forces the absorbing of Art Materials into the Main Bookstore.

The Art Store serves hundreds of students by virtue of its location next to the college cafeteria, but it does not appear to be valued by the College as the dedicated resource that is so necessary to Art and Interior Design students.

We've heard that general art materials will be available in the main bookstore and that staff will be reassigned. However, we're really concerned about how we'll obtain the specialized kits currently put together for Art students in Photography, 2D Design, Color Theory, Ceramics, Oil painting, Watercolor painting, Printmaking, Drawing, Advanced Drawing, Advanced Oil, and many other classes, and the specialized kits that are now used for the expanded Interior Design program.  And we're concerned about the staff (two of whom are students) who have provided us with really excellent advice about art supplies. We very much regret that this resource, which was located close to our classrooms, is being removed without our input and it seems like student needs are not being considered.

Why do students need an art store, and especially one located near the Art and Design studios? It is next to impossible to find the special materials needed for Art and Interior Design classes. Art and design projects depend on art materials and the quality of the materials. Other Art schools provide an Art store that has products dedicated to the Art curriculum. Art and Design are the only programs of study where students consume the materials for their projects and frequently leave class to purchase additional supplies as materials run out unexpectedly.

With the expansion of the Interior Design program to a B.A. degree, it does not seem the time to compromise resources which will help students succeed.

One of the most valuable services the store provides now is the assembly of kits designed by each instructor and assembled by the store staff, which specifically addresses the needs for each class. We worry that these kits -- so critical to our success -- will become a low priority and/or fall off the Bookstore's radar.

In addition, our particular Art Store has offered a tremendous amount of specialized customer service. One art supply is not equal to another, and the store has been staffed by people who have years of experience in art and interior design, so they know the differences in supplies. They know what will accomplish what task, and they have worked with vendors and suppliers to get us the right materials we need for our classes. The main bookstore is more difficult for art students to use because of its location far from the Art building, restrictions on bringing packs and purses into the store, lack of staff who are knowledgeable about different supplies, and huge lines for purchases. While this location might be closer for Interior Design students, navigating the main store is still a poor tradeoff.

We've heard that BC Art faculty believe so wholeheartedly in the concept of the satellite Art store that they are willing to consider giving up one of their offices to house the Art Store. Is that fair, in an environment where our instructors make do with so very little?

Please save a satellite version of the Art Store! We've had a store that has been centrally located and which serves all students with knowledgeable and skilled staff.

Thank you!
Dear Rachel Solemsaas, Faisal Jaswal, Bellevue College Art Faculty and Bellevue College Interior Design Faculty:

As a current or former student of Bellevue College, I am upset that the Bookstore is closing the Art Store and reassigning art store staff to other duties.

Closing the store will cause significant changes to the current method of providing Art and Interior Design materials to students at Bellevue College. We're very concerned about how we'll obtain the specialized kits currently put together for Art and Interior Design classes and we don't want to lose this great resource of knowledge about art materials, nor do we want to lose the instructors' source for tracking down materials for art and design students' classes.

The Art and Interior Design disciplines have many classes, each with between 25 and 100 different supplies that are required to complete the class to minimum standards. For students who are new to art, students who are on state-funded tuition reimbursement, students without transportation or without time and resources outside of the school day, doing away with the Art Store would be a significant hardship. In addition, with the expansion of the Interior Design program to a B.A. degree, it does not seem the time to shrink resources which will help students succeed.

Art and Interior Design Students have different supply needs for their courses than students in other curricula. Art supplies are not in addition to the supplies needed for class, but they are the supplies required to perform class work. Students require the best quality materials they can obtain at an affordable price. In reality, it is next to impossible for students to find all the materials needed on their own not only because there aren't any art stores nearby, but many students lack transportation.

In absorbing art materials into an already crowded main Bookstore, I'm very worried that materials needed for Art and Interior Design courses are going to become less important and harder to obtain, and that I'll lose my resource for finding out what specific tool I need for a given class. I don't want to jeopardize my success because of this decision which seems to be based solely on economics.

This decision to close the satellite Art Store directly affects me and how I can perform in my classes; however, I don't feel like I've had a voice in this process. I feel like the school is putting my needs last, when in reality my needs should be more important.

In summary, by closing the Art Store, I think the college is saying that our students' educational needs do not matter.

Bellevue College exists to further the education of its students. Please hear the voice of the students and keep a satellite Art Store open!

Thank you for taking the time to read this petition.
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