Art & Design builds relationship with Sculpture Walk Springfield
Sculpture Walk Springfield installed its first collection in April 2016 and has since become a staple of downtown culture. The current president of the board of directors, Nicole Brown, and former president Robert Carolla reached out to the department of art and design to partner up in 2017. That year, the corner of Boonville and Mill Street was designated to hold student work. Student work quickly expanded past the single spot and now holds six of the 23 spots in the 2020-2021 collection. Sculpture faculty member Deidre Argyle was one of the first faculty to join the Sculpture Walk Advisory Board. Now, Argyle serves as the vice president of the board of directors along with Dr. Catherine Jolivette and Shauna Leann Smith. Students featured in previous years include: Suzy Ahlvers (2017), Emily Cunningham (2018), T. Badeke (2018), Jaden Rodriguez (2019), Amanda Steimel (2019), Daniel Johnson (2019) and Joshua Burd (2019). The current collection features work from Derek Fitzpatrick, Amanda Steimel, Malaina Elliott, and Haley Biere. Two additional students were chosen as part of the collection but were unable to participate due to COVID-19 restrictions. Art and design alumni continue to participate in Sculpture Walk after graduation as chosen artists or mentors to current students.
The opportunity to participate in the Sculpture Walk application and presentation process is valuable to students in a number of ways including creating proposals for a large sculpture, communicating abstract ideas, and the ability to construct and finish a project outside of class. Professionally, students who are chosen begin networking, give artist talks, are paid for the display of their work and receive press. According to Argyle, “Students who have participated report gaining more connection and confidence building their careers.”
Students also have access to different grants and non-profits to help create their projects. The Carolla Sculpture Grant was created by Robert and Peggy Carolla in 2019 as a competitive option for students to fund the creation of their sculpture once accepted. This grant also gives students the experience of budgeting and planning for future applications. Argyle also mentioned a local non-profit that supports students through the transition from student to professional artist.
The deadline for submission into the 2021-2022 collection has passed, but students can begin working on their proposals and grant applications for next year. Argyle recommends that interested students view the current collection, consider the logistics of displaying a public sculpture, and download Otocast, which provides audio interviews with artists from the current collection discussing their work.
The next Sculpture Walk collection will be installed this spring.