The SHED marks its Imagine RIT debut April 27

Scott Hamilton/RIT

The SHED embodies Imagine RIT every day.

It’s a banner year for Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival, and one of the most anticipated exhibits is the building it inspired—the SHED.

Visitors who attended Imagine RIT last April saw the building under construction and surrounded by fencing. Now, the public is invited to walk through the maker- and performing arts spaces, and the large-scale classrooms that make the SHED a one-of-a-kind place on campus.

Early in his administration, RIT President David Munson identified the intersection of technology, the arts, and design as a unique RIT quality. He envisioned a multi-use building to display RIT’s student creativity during Imagine RIT and all year round. His idea became the SHED and “the new heartbeat of campus.” The facility opened last fall, and this is its Imagine RIT debut.

“The SHED is RIT on display by nature of its design and architecture, its glass, and its proximity on campus,” said Michael Buffalin, SHED makerspace director.

Buffalin described a late evening in the SHED that would have made Munson smile.

“We had a group practicing ballroom dancing in the atrium on the A-level next to students juggling, and a performance team having a meeting in the club space, and then other students were working in the makerspace,” Buffalin said. “Having all that activity within arms’ reach proved the president’s vision and proved that we could do Imagine RIT objectives all year round.”

Interdisciplinary learning thrives in the SHED, according to Sandi Connelly, principal lecturer in the Thomas H Gosnell School of Life Sciences, and interim associate director at the Center for Teaching and Learning. “The innovative design and collaborative spaces encourage cross-pollination of ideas and students to engage in hands-on projects, research, and experiential learning—all of which will be on full display in the SHED at Imagine RIT.”

Tiffany Brodner, SHED executive director, and Buffalin selected the 28 exhibits that will be in the SHED this year. The exhibitors include capstone design teams, a science fair on the third floor, the RIT-Genesee Valley Country Museum Partnership, and the RIT Archives StoryBooth collection in the Brooks H. Bower Maker Showcase. A variety of performances throughout the SHED complex will add another dimension to Imagine RIT.

The School of Performing Arts has taken advantage of the SHED’s flexible performing arts spaces under one roof, according to director of operations Ben Willmott. He is responsible for curating the campuswide performances during this year’s Imagine RIT festival on behalf of the school.

RIT students, including many Performing Arts Scholars will present a Broadway musical revue in the Sklarsky Glass Box Theater, demonstrate different dance styles in the dance studio, and - in the Munson Music Loft - exhibit musical instruments they invented.

The SHED has helped to instill the performing arts deeper within the campus culture. “For the first time ever, due to the introduction of the SHED, performing arts will be showcased during Imagine RIT in a highly visible, dynamic, and engaging manner on campus,” Willmott said.

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