Sculpture program develops art, creativity

One student works on creating a cup in Thursday's beginning wheel-throwing class with professor Bryan Moore. Yinghui Sun // Contributing Photographer
One student works on creating a cup in Thursday’s beginning wheel-throwing class with professor Bryan Moore. Yinghui Sun // Contributing Photographer

Sculpted: Students make art in the hand-built ceramics class taught by professor Bryan Moore. The class only has 12 students, but they are allowed access to the studio any time, day or night, to work on their projects.

The University of Miami’s sculpture program is interested in making more than just pieces that are appealing to the eye. It is looking to make a statement.

“Art is extremely powerful and it can do both extreme harm and great good,” said Billie Grace Lynn, a sculpture professor as well as the 3D area head.

The program, in the College of Arts and Sciences, aims to teach its students not only about the materials, form and techniques used in sculpture, but also about the significant impact their creations can have on society.

“Some people think sculpture is just about making statues, but modern sculpture can incorporate present-day problems or satire in the work,” said junior Maggie Fragel, who is taking an introduction to sculpture class. “I have learned that taking things I have seen in other’s art has helped me to develop my own techniques and statements in my work.”

The new Studio Arts Building at the southern tip of campus is a state-of-the-art facility that provides the space and tools for students wanting to pursue different avenues of sculpture. The building, located at 1535 Levante Ave., contains a woodshop, a room for hand-built ceramics and throwing, a welding area and a glass blowing area.

The department now encompasses almost every technical and material area of sculpture. However, it is still a relatively small department in comparison to that of other schools. Students are able to receive training in small classes while still having access to a facility that would commonly be found only in a larger sculpture department.

New technologies have been added to the department in order to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the industry. These include a pressure-sensitive table saw and a drill that follows computer generated designs in order to create 3D carvings.

“Technology is the industry standard now,” said Leah Brown, a master of fine arts candidate with a concentration in sculpture. “By keeping up with the technology, as artists, we’re not going to become obsolete.”

The department aims to create not only great artists but also great thinkers, according to Lynn.

“If art is just for art’s sake, then what does it do for humanity?” Lynn said.