General SAFETY in the arts, MSDS, etc.

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SAFETY: It's your body and it is ultimately your responsibility to take care of it. All items below are the hard truth about working in the arts and being an art student at GVSU


Almost all tools and materials used in art have safety concerns. The faculty will provide training in each studio class to help identify and deal with potential hazards the student might encounter. The syllabi for each class will also give instruction as to necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that might be required for different processes. It is the responsibility of the student to read the syllabi and follow the instructions.

GVSU'S lab safety website.

This site includes links to all the SDS (Safety Data Sheets) for all the approved and assigned chemicals etc used in the art department as well as throughout the campus.

-A national database for SDS.

-Princeton University has a well-developed site about the arts and safety as well as training in art safety.

-University of Chicago Safety and the Arts.

-An appraisal of the specific hazards involved in studio painting.

Remember that the studios and rooms in Calder are shared spaces. Be considerate. Ignorance is no excuse for harming yourself or others.



Grand Valley State University Art and Design Department


We are committed to a safe working and learning environment at GVSU Art and Design and to teaching those steps to pursuing a safe career in the arts.



The Calder Art Center is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. After hours access is available by an entry access key card that can be had for the semester by request through faculty.

Computer Labs are open each day from 7 a.m.-11 p.m.

The Sculpture Studio, Metals Studio and Woodshop are monitored for safety and are open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Many rooms and studios in the Calder Art Center require closed protective footwear and safety glasses to work inside. The doors to these studios and areas are marked as to what is required and students and faculty are expected to comply.

1810 Metals Studio. Protective footwear and safety glasses.

1820 Sculpture Studio. Protective footwear and safety glasses.

1830 Woodshop. Protective footwear and safety glasses.

1422 Ceramics Studio. Protective footwear. In addition-

Rooms 1424 Clay Mix, 1426 Glaze Calc, and Room 1428 Kiln room require further protective equipment for certain work. See notice on door.

1208, 1214, 1215, and 1313 Printmaking. Protective footwear.

1218 Printmaking Etching Room. Protective footwear and safety glasses.


The safest practice is to always use the least hazardous material for the purpose whenever possible.

*Don't purchase more of a material than you expect to use in the foreseeable future. The costs of disposal often exceed the purchase cost by a considerable margin

*Keep all chemical containers clearly and unambiguously labeled.

*Dispose of your wastes at the completion of a project - don't leave for someone else to deal with later.

*Know when Personal Protective Equipment (safety gear) is recommended or required.

*Only engage in processes that you have been trained in. Ask your faculty.


Flammable liquids must be stored in the Yellow Flammables Cabinets in the areas of use. Corrosives must be stored separately in storage areas for corrosives.

Each Painting Studio has a Flammable Storage Cabinet for the students solvent storage. The student may have small amounts of thinner at their work station for brush cleaning.

Printmaking has separate areas for storage of flammables and corrosives (etching liquids).

For general rules of chemical safety see GVSU Chemical Safety Plan which is linked from

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Page last modified March 6, 2018