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Explore

New Dimensions.

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Get Inspired

To Create Meaningful Art.

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Articulate

Meaning, Context & Research.

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Establish

A Rigorous Practice.

Sculpture

At MECA, sculpture is broadly defined and ever-expanding. It’s material, three-dimensional, spatial, and sometimes even ephemeral or four-dimensional.  

In the Sculpture Program at MECA, you will challenge yourself in new ways—technically, creatively, and conceptually. An emphasis on critical thinking and writing will help you learn to communicate with confidence while gaining insight into the discipline of sculpture from a historical and contemporary perspective. Our diverse faculty will guide you along as you explore the relationships between material, technique, process, scale, and context.

You’ll have the opportunity to work in traditional mediums like stone, clay, wood and metal—but your materials may also come from the grocery store, the beach, or even the dumpster. You may even blur the lines so much that your sculpture becomes a way of engaging with the community or telling a complex story. The exchange of ideas with your peers, faculty, visiting artists, and the local arts community will challenge you to advance your journey towards becoming a professional artist.

 

Spotlight

  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Student
  • Jackie King '17

    MECA opened many doors for me artistically; there are so many possibilities for my work now.

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. The body of work that I’m working on currently is focused on addressing issues of sexuality and objectification. Previously, I was making a body of work that raised questions about how humans treat animals. I feel a personal responsibility to make work that raises awareness . . .Read More

  • Vivian Beer '00

    Vivian Beer '00 was announced the Winner of Ellen DeGeneres' Design Challenge on last night's finale. Vivian . . .

    Vivian Beer ’00 was announced the Winner of Ellen DeGeneres’ Design Challenge on last night’s finale. Vivian won a $100,000 cash prize from Wayfair.com and her work will be featured in HGTV Magazine. The episode challenged the final two contestants to design furniture for greenrooms at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. View . . .Read More

  • Vivian Beer ’00

    I tiptoe through contemporary design, craft and sculptural aesthetics, sampling from each one.”

    MECA Sculpture major Vivian Beer is a New Hampshire furniture designer and maker who describes herself as “tiptoeing through contemporary design, craft and sculptural aesthetics, sampling from each one.”  She creates one‐of‐a‐kind and limited production pieces that “intends to transform our expectations of and relationships . . .Read More

  • John Nelson '12

    Art school helps you learn to work really hard because there is no final answer, so the work is unlimited.

    Upon graduation, John Nelson started his own business, Nelson Metal Fabrication. He works full-time creating custom metalwork and architectural elements as well as fabricating signs. Collaborating with Woodworking & Furniture Design alum Jonas Eule ’12, he launched a line of furniture. John Huckins ’12 joined Nelson . . .Read More

  • Elise Bothel '10, Art Ed '13

    I believe that the arts are a positive experience innate to the nature of us all.

    After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Elise Bothel furthered her education, also at MECA, by becoming certified to teach art through MECA’s Post-Baccalaureate Certification program (which has evolved into our current MAT program). She currently teaches at Narragansett Elementary School in Maine and was . . .Read More

  • Erin Hutton '98

    Erin combines project management with creative problem solving, which she uses to engage audiences.

    SWARM Installation from Maine College of Art on Vimeo. SWARM is a permanent two-story typewriter installation within The Press Hotel located in Portland, Maine. SWARM was designed by artist Erin Hutton in collaboration with Artists at Work at Maine College of Art. SWARM features 62 vintage typewriters acquired from Tom Furrier of . . .Read More

  • Ling‐Wen Tsai

    I believe that identities are deeply rooted in cultural perspective.

    Associate Professor of Sculpture and Digital Media at MECA, Ling‐Wen Tsai’s career began with a degree in nursing from Chung‐Shan Medical College in Taiwan, where she spent her first 25 years. Art was her true calling, however, and her traditional parents were unable to quell her “burning desire to create.” After earning her . . .Read More

  • Sean Glover

    I am interested in how observation and site, as it relates to the public and space, can inform each other.

    How do observation and public engagement intersect? Can one be a vehicle for the other? I am interested in how observation and site, as it relates to the public and space, can inform each other. They shape each other. With each different person that approaches a site, different ways of observation are enacted. These differences […]Read More

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Outcomes

  • Formal

    Students learn to employ the principles of design in order to create work that is spatially and/or environmentally dynamic. Students learn to select and develop media that will fortify content. Students examine and understand the contextual opportunities for sculpture, and their relationship to subjective expression.

  • Conceptual

    Students learn to seek new visual and intellectual themes in one’s work and develop the ability to challenge themselves technically, formally, and conceptually. Students develop communicative skills in critical thinking and writing and understand the discipline of sculpture from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Students understand and examine subjective decisions in relationship to historical and contemporary perspectives in art and learn to identify contemporary sculptors who are making significant contributions to the discipline. Students establish personal, self-sustaining work habits.

  • Technical

    Students acquire a solid range of skills with regard to traditional and contemporary sculpture techniques. Students acquire the ability to support content through the choice appropriate techniques, process, scale, and context.

  • Professional

    Students write an artist statement, a professional resume, cover letter, and artist bio. Students learn to create a professional portfolio of studio work in both slide and digital formats. Students gain experience in applying for residencies and juried exhibitions, presenting work in an exhibition, writing a press release, creating an exhibition card, and curatorial text, and organizing a public reception. They learn how to create proposals for grants, art commissions, exhibitions, and self-created residencies, and how to seek out and research opportunities in the field through use of the web, professional organizations, publications and periodicals. Students gain an understanding of the business aspects of sculpture including promotion, contracts, issues of self-employment, and artists’ rights. Students establish confidence in one’s ability to develop and present personal work.

FAQs

  • What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Sculpture?

    Most BFA sculpture graduates will need to find employment to support their studio life independently of their sculpture production until they achieve sufficient recognition to sustain their studio practice by selling work. As the art market is unpredictable based on the fickle nature of the economy, public taste and popular style, most artists/sculptors need to be diverse in their approach to employment. Most take part time jobs to free their time to work in the studio. Some go on to graduate school and earn a Master of Fine Arts degree which gives them more time to refine and polish their skills. Generally MFA graduates find work in teaching. Depending on kind of sculpture background, expertise could result in many diverse career paths or studio support. Some examples: performance/video artists do video production, set design, and costume design. Sculptors who make objects find technical work in foundries, welding shops, wood shops, mold-making studio, fabrication studio, assisting other artists, and stage and exhibition craft. Some sculptors have shops and become tradesmen/women. With interpersonal skills and love of sharing, some become teachers in the public school, private school, or college levels. Some sculptors work in community rehab, public engagement through community arts events. Sculptors with interests in site as a medium, interventions and installation art, often assist architects, work in landscape design as designers and laborers. Sculptors who can earn by their studio do sculpture, exhibit work, and create commissioned work.

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    We teach material and technical skills, train students in critical awareness, and encourage clear speaking and writing. We go to sculpture exhibitions, attend lectures on the field, and visit with professional practicing artists in their studios.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Sculpture?

    Completing the foundation program, plus two semesters in a sculpture elective.

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Sculpture major?

    Yes, contemporary sculpture can and most often is interdisciplinary; bringing together diverse interests.

  • What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?

    In addition to material skill based studio electives like Welding, Metal Casting, Wood Sculpture, and Stone Sculpture, the Sculpture Department offers theme based courses like Performance Art, Public Art, Figure Sculpture, and conceptually driven courses like Form and Content, Defining Gravity, and Temporal Structures: Time-Based Installation. Elective courses are offered on a rotational basis over the course of two to three year cycles. The Sculpture Major III and IV is comprised of two semesters of advanced study/self-directed work, with advisement in the third year and two semesters in the senior year. An Introduction to the Sculpture Discipline course provides an in-depth look into the history and evolution of sculpture ideas through all time and is taken once during the two majoring years.

  • What are some of the unique aspects of this program?

    Sculpture is a time-based discipline that is couched in an investigation of concepts through material, form, and spatial engagements. While it can be many things from making objects, designing sites and installations, performance art or producing video; work is made in-the-round. It is a three dimensional art form that is dimensionless in height, width, and depth. The individual artist chooses the formal means to advance their concepts.

  • What are your facilities like?

    Sculpture has four studios: Majors Studio, Welding/Foundry Studio, Elective Studio, and Plaster and Mold Making Studio. Elective students use all the facilities, except for the Majors space, which is reserved for advanced students. The Elective studio is designed to support all kinds of materials and is equipped with a selection of stationary power tools and hand tools. There is a complete selection of wood and stone working tools. Plaster, clay modeling, and diverse materials are supported as well. The Metal Studio is equipped with stationary and hand power tools for working metal. This includes electric MIG, Arc and TIG welding, also Oxy-Acetylene gas torch welding, two coal forges, a furnace, melting capacity of 200 Lbs bronze metal, and a gas kiln for burning out molds for lost wax casting. The plaster/mold making studio has sink/tubs for water, is ventilated for dusts and served with counters and tables for working plasters, cements, and investment materials. Because of its location and ability to be darkened it doubles as a projection room for viewing digital and slide projections. The Majors studio has benches for each Major, is designed with open work spaces, and includes flat partitions for making and viewing flat work in support of sculpture.

  • What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?

    Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, Ember Grove LLC: Lighting Production, New England Sculpture Services, and Nelson Metal Fabrication Studio Space Gallery

  • How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?

    It fluctuates. We currently have 7 seniors and 7 Juniors. The average is 9 Juniors and 9 Seniors.

  • Can you give me some examples of Artists at Work in your department?

    Two are working in the ICA as either receptionists or exhibition preparators. One is finishing a sculpture commission for a private funerary monument, and two are doing commissioned sculptures for NAMI a regional branch of a national mental health organizations.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
(2) SC Studio Electives or (1) SC Studio Elective and 3D Fabrication (FN 250) or Moldmaking–Form /Transformation (FN 251)

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Sculpture: Junior Major Studio (SC 321-SC 322), Introduction to the Discipline (SC 351), Junior Seminar (SEM 352-3-4), and (2) Approved Studio Electives

Senior Year (4th Year)
Sculpture: Major Studio (SC 421-SC 422), Senior Synthesis (SEM 451-SEM 452), and (2) Approved Studio Electives

Workspace & Tools

Wood Shop

  • Saw Stop Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Bandsaw
  • Chain Saw
  • Skill Saw
  • Drill Press
  • Hammer Drill
  • Belt/Disc Sander
  • Angle Grinder
  • Die Grinder
  • Wire Brush Grinder

Other

  • Plaster/Mold-making Studio
  • Installation Room
  • Spray Booth
  • Industrial Sewing Machine
  • Digital Projector
  • Digital Audio Recorder
  • Video and DSLR Camera

Metal Shop

  • MIG Welder
  • TIG Welder
  • Arc Welder
  • Oxy-Acetylene Welder
  • Spot Welder
  • Plasma Cutter
  • Drill Press
  • Bandsaw
  • Metal Chop Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Bead Blasting Cabinet
  • Propane Forge
  • Coal Forge

Foundry

  • Investment Burnout Kiln
  • Speedy Melt Foundry Furnace (200 Lb Bronze capacity)
  • Crucibles for Bronze and Aluminum
  • Electric Chain Fall on Trolley

 

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  • Being at MECA has changed my art drastically. I didn't have much experience in sculptural mediums prior to attending college. I feel like it opened many doors to me artistically; there are so many possibilities for my work now. It's just a matter of figuring out the most effect way to express what I want to say.

    Jackie King '17  2017  //  Tiverton, RI
  • MECA is a place where creativity gets an amazing and thorough kind of support. Everything you do here, and everyone that interacts with you, gives you the sense that what you're doing is important, and serious, and that you need to trust your own thinking and creative spirit.

    Asherah Cinnamon '08  2008  //  Limington, Maine
  • MECA is about building relationships and networks, and getting feedback from people you respect. That’s what’s most important here.

    Madeline Gantos  2013  //  Sculpture  //  Boston, MA

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

57% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

47% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

63

Work as professional artists

23

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

16

Founded a business

23

Work as craft artists

38

Work as fine artists

29

Work as art teachers

17

Pursued an MFA after graduation

49

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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