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Which art schools are best for sculpture?

sculpturesculpture Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
I'm a high-school student looking into art Colleges - hoping to major in sculpture…I've been working as a semi-professional artist and ceramics sculptor for several years, but I want the chance to try out more mediums and take them to higher levels than I can (practically) at home. So, I'm looking for a really hands-on experience where I won't be required to take too many "foundation" courses, and where I can take very advanced art courses while still an undergrad.
I'm currently looking primarily at SMFA and AAU (Academy of Art University, SanFran).
I'm a long way away (the Caribbean) which makes it difficult to get info!
So if anyone has suggestions?
…and is it possible to skip out of "foundation" courses with a sufficient portfolio?
Post edited by sculpture on

Replies to: Which art schools are best for sculpture?

  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member
    Check out VCU- Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. They just put this USNWR information on their website for the School of the Arts. They are very proud of the program there. Here is the link:

    Welcome to VCUarts

    Good luck to you!
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member
    Sculpture- Note that the rankings on that link are for graduate programs. However, the undergraduate program has a very good reputation as well.
  • sculpturesculpture Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thanks for the link to VCU, I had not come across that one before.
    Having seen that site, I guess that I'm looking for a slightly more classically-oriented program - less of the "modernistic" sculptures and mediums.
    …I'm particularly interested in casting (bronze, glass, concrete) and traditional sculpture techniques - with a only little "modernism" thrown in.
    So if anyone has ideas?
  • studiomomstudiomom Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    Check out the International Sculpture Center's directory of undergraduate programs. You may also want to subscribe to their monthly magazine "Sculpture."

    Directory of Undergraduate and Graduate Sculpture Programs - Sculpture.org
  • momrathmomrath Registered User Posts: 5,689 Senior Member
    sculpture, I'd pursue VCU a little further. The focus of the department is very process driven (as opposed to theoretical). You would definitely get instruction in the complicated techniques that you're interested in, even if your personal style is different from the work being produced there.

    For example, take a look at this professor's work. It is contemporary but the techniques used are classical.
    Kent Gallery, Elizabeth King
  • abstractphotosabstractphotos Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    At SMFA you don't have to do a foundation year. You can start with sculpture and try any medium at any time.
  • sortingdetailssortingdetails Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    At SMFA you don't have to do a foundation year. You can start with sculpture and try any medium at any time.

    That is regrettable. It is good to have a solid foundation and then get into the major. You can make your own art as you take foundations. In fact, it is expected at most schools.
  • mino74urmino74ur Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    As a sculpture major myself I can certainly vouch for Virginia Commonwealth University but due to economics chose not to move out of state. I have been thoroughly impressed with the department and the school. Generally process oriented schools tend to lean on a really strong foundation in formal sculpture. Certainly that can be departed from as you gain more experience with the materials and techniques but I think you need to keep in mind sculpture is not restricted in the way ceramics would be to clay or painting to paint. You will likely find those who depart from tradition and those who embrace it in most departments with a diverse group of professors with different specializations.

    You may shy away from SAIC or CALArts thinking they are both too contemporary but I would say seek out the resources your require to accomplish your goals first (a foundry and accessible undergraduate labs/studios is obviously quite important for us since even mold-making would be hell in a dorm) then look at the faculty and see who is producing output that might appeal towards your sensibilities.

    I would go out on my experiential limb to also say, sculpture departments are strongly complimented by strong architecture programs and to consider this to a slight degree when exploring departments. I would personally say UCLA is worth your consideration in that it is a well respected school, has several strong complimentary departments available to you (Architecture/Philosophy/Art History/Classics) and is strongly rooted in traditional studio art education in all disciplines.

    Best wishes!
  • Kidzmom3Kidzmom3 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    It really depends on what type of sculpture you wish to do. If you are interested in creating 20th Century style work, there are a lot of schools that you can attend. If you plan to play a role in the new post 20th century realism/representational art movement (check out Art Renewal Center Scholarships and Programs with Online Museum), you will have to look around a bit more. The Art Academy University does have a new classical sculpture program that might be good. I would recommend LCAD (Laguna College of Art and Design) also in California. My daughter went there (before AAU had a program) even though they do not offer a major in sculpture. She said that Raymond Persinger and Marianne O'Barr are the best sculpture instructors ever. She should know, she already is working in the movie industry as a sculptor and she exhibits as a fine artist too! They are planning to have a sculpture major soon but this did not happen in time for my daughter.

    Re transfers, My daughter transferred in with some units, but was advised, based on her portfolio to retake some of them as her training did not meet their expectations, so it depends on how good your instruction is, they will let you know. I wish I had her start at LCAD, but she was not sure where she wanted to go so she spent a year at a JC figuring it out.
  • kaelynkaelyn Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    I'd recommend just trying to get into a 'decent' art school with a relatively flexible interdisciplinary approach. If you haven't studied at an art school before, it's almost to be expected that you're going to end up wanting to experiment and work in different media. It's also likely that after your first years you may end up doing something completely unrelated to sculpture. SMFA and SAIC offer, as far as art schools go, relatively generous merit based aid for international students (that's assuming you are not an american citizen). They also have pretty flexible curricula. MICA, SVA, SFAI and Cooper Union may also be worth a look. If you have an academic side, you may want to check out Bard, UCLA and Yale though I'm not sure what their facilities would be like compared to pure art schools.

    Regardless of whether your interests are primarily technical or not, I'd also recommend picking a school with a more 'contemporary' disposition since such schools tend to expose you to a broader spectrum of art practices and approaches than say, more conservative schools might. You may end up deciding that there is a lot more to art making than craft or you may find yourself reassured of your traditionalist convictions. In either case it's more important that you be able to make an informed decision about what kind of work you want to make rather than simply sticking to what you know.
  • sculptorsculptor Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    The Lamar Dodd School of Art at The University of Georgia is a comprehensive art program that encompasses traditional and nontraditional approaches to all areas of art and design. Sculpture is especially strong. art.uga.edu
This discussion has been closed.