A tale of two artists: Living in the Fine Arts House

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Feb 8, 2017 9:13:00 AM

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From the Valley to Western Heights, the Student Ghetto to Fraternity Village, there are endless options when it comes to housing at Western Michigan University. Each residence hall boasts its own perks, and each neighborhood offers its own quirks.

College of Fine Arts students have yet another housing option available to them: the Fine Arts House. If for you, home is where the art is, then this Living Learning Community might be a perfect fit. Located in Draper/Siedschlag Hall, the Fine Arts House offers a great opportunity for those with a love of visual and performing arts to live together.

Meet Jules and Tracey, two current College of Fine Arts students. Though their artistic interests and pursuits couldn't be more different, they both found home in the Fine Arts House at Draper/Siedschlag. Get a sense for the Fine Arts House experience through their memories and accounts.


 Jules Abbe

Tracey Beresford

Jules Abbe

Tracey Ryheem Rolay Beresford

  • Hometown: Chicago, IL
  • Year: Junior
  • Unit: Gwen Frostic School of Art
  • Major: BFA, Ceramics 
  • Goals for the future: I hope to get my MFA in ceramics and go on to teach at a fine arts college.
  • Hometown: Dubuque, IA
  • Year: Freshman
  • Unit: School of Music
  • Major: Vocal Jazz Studies
  • Goals for the future: My goal is to perform. In 5 or 10 years, I hope to be doing gigs, and maybe even touring on a cruise ship. I want to make music with amazing and well-known people and be happy with every decision that I make.


What is your Fine Arts House experience? How long did you live there?


I lived in the Fine Arts House for two years; one of which I worked as the Learning Community Assistant. A Learning Community Assistant is someone that helps residents find academic resources on campus, meet people with shared interests so they can build a support structure away from home, and also provide support and advice for any problems they may have. 


I have lived in the Fine Arts House for a little over a semester. This is my first year attending Western Michigan University, so I haven’t been here for too long.


Tell us a little bit more about the Fine Arts House environment. What's it like to live there? 


The Fine Arts House was a great place to get my start in college. I was able to make a number of friends who shared my interests in the arts. The building was fantastic with practice rooms for music majors and a studio for dance and art majors.


The facilities are really nice. We’ve been provided with practice rooms with electronic keyboards. The bathrooms are cleaned and maintained everyday. Quiet hours are late, Draper Carryout is very convenient for students needing to just grab a quick bite to eat. Also, Draper is close to the Dorothy Dalton Center.


Tracey Beresford and fellow Fine Arts House residents


What are (or were) your favorite things about living in the Fine Arts House?


The central location on campus makes it incredibly easy to get to classes at Gwen Frostic without having to walk all the way from the Valleys. Also, having fellow fine arts students who share classes with you in the same building means it's easy to find academic support. Plus there are always activities put together by the staff that are specifically tailored to the community so residents can get a chance to know their neighbors.

The activities provided by staff ranged anywhere from game nights with neighbors to learning how to take care of a plant in your dorm room to some self defense classes. They change every year according to what RAs think residents need or would find interesting, so they are made to suit the community.


My favorite thing about the Fine Arts House is the vast amount of music you can hear through the walls. I love that no one is afraid of expressing themselves and being who they are. We all came here for the same reason, and we all work endlessly to achieve the level of greatness required of us in order to succeed in adulthood. Also, music is the reason I have the friends that I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Name your favorite memory from living in the Fine Arts House.


Chatting with neighbors about the latest Marvel movies and series.


When I had a miniature jam session with a couple of my friends, because why not?


What would you tell incoming students considering living in the Fine Arts House?


I would highly recommend this as a housing option for new students at WMU. It’s an excellent place to make connections in your department and find friends that share interests and who can support you through your college career.


I would indeed recommend this opportunity to future students. If you want to be surrounded by those with a flame for music, Draper/Seid is where you want to be. Even if you aren’t confident with your ability in the fine arts, you will be eventually. There are so many kind people here willing to offer you their time and knowledge. No one gets left behind or forgotten in Draper Hall.



Want to be a part of the Fine Arts House family? Head to Western Michigan University Residence Life.


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Topics: Kalamazoo, Student Experience, Frostic School of Art, School of Music, Insider, A Tale of Two Artists

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The Official Blog of the WMU College of Fine Arts

Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts is a place where passion meets practice, and The Fine Print is your lens into the lives of our students, faculty and community.

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