UHV to begin offering classes, labs at Victoria downtown Kreisle Building

The Kreisle Building in downtown Victoria is the new home of the University of Houston-Victoria Center for the Arts.

University of Houston-Victoria students soon will be heading downtown to take art and design classes, work on digital projects, meet with faculty members and display their creations.

Jeffery Di Leo

The new UHV Center for the Arts will be housed in the Kreisle Building, 204 N. Main St. The UHV School of Arts & Sciences will use the 5,500-square-foot facility for new art and design courses.

“We really like that this building is close to the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts and the downtown art scene,” said Jeffery Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “We’re excited to be part of the revitalization of Main Street.”

The building was constructed by L.G. Kreisle in 1912 and originally was home to Pridham and Kreisle, a hardware and farm implements store. The building is now owned by the Junior League of Victoria. The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Golden Crescent occupied the space from 2002 until this summer when it announced plans to move to the former Playhouse Theatre on Sam Houston Drive. UHV signed a lease with the Junior League on Tuesday.

Vic Morgan

“The UHV Center for the Arts will be a great addition to our growing campus,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “Downtown is the focal point of arts and commerce in Victoria, and we’re excited to have a presence right on Main Street.”

UHV is offering “Introduction to Painting” for the first time this fall. The Thursday evening course in the new UHV Center for the Arts will be taught by Cynthia Miller, UHV’s artist-in-residence. Miller also is teaching “Introduction to Drawing” on Wednesday evenings. She has taught art for more than 20 years at the Tucson Museum of Art School, Arizona International College, and The Learning Curve and The Drawing Studio, which also are in Tucson.

“We’re thrilled to have Ms. Miller teach our new courses and glad she and her students will have plenty of room to operate,” Di Leo said. “This new facility will allow us to put the arts in the School of Arts and Sciences. Part of being a destination university is having a robust program in the arts. It’s important for creativity, and we’re committed to providing this outlet.”

Two design classes – “Theories of Design” and “Advanced Typography” – also will take place downtown. Both courses are being taught by Charles Alexander, UHV’s designer-in-residence. He has written five full-length books of poetry and 10 chapbooks of poetry. He previously taught literature and writing at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The building also will house a new computer lab and a Computation & Advanced Visualization Engineering lab for UHV’s digital gaming and computer science students. The lab will be an extension of the main research CAVE lab in the UHV University West building on the main campus.

Alireza Tavakkoli

“It will be a smaller CAVE lab in a more compact environment,” said Alireza Tavakkoli, director of UHV’s nationally ranked digital gaming and simulation program and an assistant professor of computer science. “We’ll have a few motion capture cameras that will be easy for our students to use. This will allow undergraduates to get more time in the lab to complete research and projects.”

Tavakkoli said he’s pleased with the expansion downtown, especially because many of the art programs require a good deal of space.

“The majority of a gaming programming lab has to be empty space,” Tavakkoli said. “We need a vacant area to work with motion capture. Space is precious to us, so I’m pleased Dr. Di Leo has successfully obtained additional room.”

Di Leo said the school is open to naming opportunities for the building. The facility also will house UHV School of Arts & Sciences faculty and display space to exhibit students’ creations.

Andrew Baerg

“We look forward to the way this building will contribute to more opportunities for students to express themselves,” said Andrew Baerg, UHV humanities chair and director of communication. “The courses offered there should really help students develop their creativity in new and exciting ways.”

There will be a shuttle service from campus to transport UHV students to and from classes downtown. For students driving, Di Leo said there usually is space in the parking garage located less than a block from the building.

“It’s an appealing area to have classes,” Di Leo said. “There are several restaurants nearby, and there has been an increase in events held downtown. Having the Welder Center on the same block also is a real asset.”

Victoria College owns the Welder Center, which is home to a variety of performing arts events.

“Using this building downtown helps us more closely collaborate with Victoria College in arts program delivery,” Di Leo said. “We look forward to building a closer relationship.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro