Hughes Center opened Oct. 26 with a ribbon-cutting, alumni art show, packed reception

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James D. Hughes Center Dedication

The art and engineering building opened Tuesday, Oct. 26


After $4.4 million in construction, the James D. Hughes Center, facing Belmont Boulevard, leads Lipscomb’s next phase of construction north of the present campus. The 25,300 square-foot-building was named for the late James D. Hughes, director of art education for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for nearly 30 years. It houses the Department of Art and the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering. The center was designed by Tuck Hinton Architects: Seab Tuck, principal, and Chuck Miller, project manager.
“What we have today are two excellent programs moving into a space that is reflective of the quality of those two academic programs.”

-- Craig Bledsoe, university provost --
Lipscomb officials and Mrs. Hughes cut the ribbon on the Hughes building. Mrs. Elizabeth S. Hughes, wife of the late James D. Hughes, art director for Nashville public schools for almost 30 years.

The James D. Hughes building includes:

  • The John C. Hutcheson Gallery on the main floor
  • Ceramics, sculpture, drawing, painting, mixed media and printmaking studios all bathed in natural light from a skylight
  • An outdoor sculpture work area
  • A photography darkroom
  • A laboratory for robotic systems engineering
  • A renewable energy technologies laboratory
  • Two LearnLabs especially designed for collaborative and interdisciplinary instruction
  • Interactive technology for small groups to work together using a MediaScape computer system
“It is interesting that art and engineering will share the same space. But in reality they are both artists; they are both involved in math; they are both engaged in the study of science…. I challenge you to bring this new facility to the glory of God, to bring out the best in the faculty, and to bring out the best in our students.”
-- G. Hilton Dean, chair of the university board of trustees --


The Drawing Studio Art Department Chair Laura Lake Smith with Mrs. Hughes. Students at work.

John C. Hutcheson Gallery in the Hughes Center


Winter VIne, Anna Jaap, 2009
The John C. Hutcheson Gallery opened Oct. 15 with the debut show, "Artists at Work: A Legacy at Lipscomb University," featuring 23 alumni artists selected by successful Nashville artists and alumni Dawn Whitelaw and Michael Shane Neal. The show included alumni who graduated anytime from the 1960s to the past few years and one current senior BFA studio major. There were about 40 works ranging from traditional to contemporary styles.
Curator Whitelaw taught as an adjunct instructor at Lipscomb University for more than 25 years. She has won the Best of Show at the Portrait Society of America., and maintains a gallery at The Factory in Franklin, Tenn. Curator Neal, is one of America’s most sought after portrait artists. He has recently completed portraits of such luminaries as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.
Featured artists included:
John Chastain
Teklit Debrezion
Clydetta Fulmer
Tyler Johnson
Kristi Jones
Ted Rose

 At the ribbon-cutting, Department of Art Chair Laura Lake Smith thanked Lipscomb trustee Marty Kittrell and his wife Jane Dennison Kittrell for their gift to fund the Presidential Lectures in Art and Art History, now renamed for 2011 the "Jean Nunley Dennison Presidential Lectureships for Art and Art History.”


“I am glad to join you today in galvanizing the visual arts in our community… Together we can go into the future with a spirit of cooperation and a certain belief in the power of art to prepare the next generation.”
-- Susan H. Edwards, executive director and CEO of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts --
 The Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering
The small group work room with high-tech computer system. The robotics engineering laboratory.
The Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering offers bachelor of science degrees in seven majors including electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and information technology. The college’s engineering mechanics and computer engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, and graduates boast an excellent first-time pass rate on the national Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, the test used throughout the nation as a mandatory step for professionals seeking to acquire an engineering license.
The Hughes Center will feature a laboratory for robotic systems engineering, a renewable energy technologies laboratory, a small group workroom outfitted with a Mediascape computer technology, and two new LearnLabs™, interactive classrooms developed by Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures Group, providing enhanced collaborative and interdisciplinary instruction.
Lipscomb's two LearnLabs™ are the first in Middle Tennessee and one of the first 100 such classrooms installed in the nation. Using mobile furniture, interactive whiteboards, computer technology and multiple projectors, the LearnLab™ classroom enhances collaborative discussion and problem-based learning. In a LearnLab™, the professor becomes less the “sage on the stage” and more the “guide on the side.” Lectures become less important, and group work and discussion become the primary focus in these classrooms designed to let students share, discuss and analyze their group work through various technologies.
LearnLabs™ are designed to foster all the different learning styles more equitably by offering a more active and interactive classroom experience.
The engineering classrooms are designed to enhance problem-solving skills. The Hughes building opening reception,
“When Nissan moved here four years ago, we wanted to make an impact in the community. We began looking for partners in that endeavor, and Lipscomb University was a natural fit… We commend Lipscomb University for engaging youth and reaching out to a diverse audience.”
-- Stephanie Valdez Streaty, senior manager of philanthropy and diversity communications at Nissan North America Inc. --
Mrs. Hughes in the building lobby. Lipscomb alumni and sucessful portrait artist Michael Shane Neal curated the first art show in the John C. Hutcheson Gallery. President Lowry and the Choate family in the Choate Portico.
“We can’t be a fine liberal arts college without a fine music program, a fine theater program and a fine art program. Over the past five years we have establish an excellent new music facility, we are currently working on the university theater, and today we have a fine new art facility.”
-- L. Randolph Lowry, university president --