Sparks of creativity are flying in Brick City’s sculpture lab, both literally and figuratively. Five students are hard at work bringing their visions to life for this year’s installment of Sculpture Walk Springfield. The process of participating in Sculpture Walk involves many hours of hard work, but for the student artists involved, it’s also a learning experience unlike any other.
The partnership between Sculpture Walk Springfield and the Art + Design Department began in 2016, and the first group of Missouri State students exhibited work for Sculpture Walk in 2017. Sculpture Walk has now become an annual tradition for sculpture students looking to push themselves to produce work beyond an academic setting. This year, five Missouri State students were selected to participate: Timothy Damaso, Joe, Duggar, Peter Harmon, Shayna Marose, and Timothy Pease.
What starts as a concept or an exploration of ideas is eventually sketched out on paper or modeled using a 3D design program. Those preliminary ideas are then made into small three-dimensional models to be submitted for consideration. In addition to creating the model sculptures, artists must also come up with a plan for their work including cost and safety considerations. Deidre Argyle, Associate Professor of Sculpture at Missouri State, describes the selection process, “A diverse selection committee composed of city representatives, art professionals, and citizens jury the work each year. It is a lively conversation and work is chosen based on safety, durability, and conceptual merit. This speaks volumes for our students’ abilities to convey ideas to a broad audience and to the quality of their work.”
The call for art typically opens in early fall and comes to a close the end of January. By mid-February, selected artists are notified if their work has been selected for Sculpture Walk. Once notified, students hustle to complete their sculptures until finished works are installed later in the spring. “Students put many hours into the production of their work, often working side by side in the studio, helping and encouraging each other,” Deidre describes. The quick turnaround between having their concept accepted to presenting the finished sculpture is quick, but the student artists have been taking the shorter timeline in stride. “It’s challenging your ability by putting a timeline on what you know you can do . . . I love a challenge. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” adds Joe Duggar.
Sculpture can be an expensive artistic medium, so another part of students’ Sculpture Walk Springfield process is applying for a grant to help with expenses. “The Bob and Peg Carolla Sculpture Grant has been a game changer for many students. Receiving money for materials to build a large-scale public sculpture has allowed our students to think bigger and to propose more complex works. In the future, we would love to see more people support students in this way and are working towards an endowed fund that could provide this opportunity into the future,” explains Deidre.
Sculpture Walk participation has a valuable impact on the artists involved. “It’s made me more confident as an artist. It’s made me realize I can do this as a full career and a sense of pride in my work that I’ve never felt before,” shares Peter Harmon. It’s also an opportunity for the artists to convey their ideas to a larger audience. Shayna Marose shares, “It’s everything to me, as a sculptor, as someone who wants to go out in the world and make big works of art. Public art, art that’s for everyone, is the pinnacle of where an artist wants to be.”
Being included in Sculpture Walk Springfield is a way for students to apply what they have learned in class while gaining exposure to lessons and additional opportunities in professional artistry. “For some students this opportunity has led to artwork sales, additional commissions, and exhibitions. Public art can be a lucrative career and participating in Sculpture Walk Springfield helps to open the door for more possibilities. Everyone at Sculpture Walk Springfield supports the students’ involvement and has been consistently impressed with the caliber of work produced as well as the general enthusiasm and professionalism our students demonstrate,” shares Deidre.
Public art is something everyone of any income, education background, or creative ability can enjoy. There are several ways for community members to support the organization and artists of Sculpture Walk Springfield:
- Because Sculpture Walk Springfield is donor funded, monetary donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated. Sculptures can be sponsored by individuals or businesses starting at $2000.
- To support student artwork, donations can also be made directly toward the Carolla Sculpture Grant through the Sculpture Projects Fund. Please reach out to Deidre Argyle at DArgyle@missouristate.edu for more information about the donation guidelines and process.
- Support can also be shown by spreading the word about Sculpture Walk Springfield and using social media by following Sculpture Walk Springfield on Facebook and Instagram, using the Otocast app when viewing sculptures, and following the artists on social media.
Celebrate the installation of this year’s collection of sculptures by attending Sculpture Walk Springfield’s Annual Collection Celebration on April 23 on Park Central Square in downtown Springfield.
Taylor Ladd is a graduate assistant for the Department of Art + Design. She is working towards her master’s degree in writing at Missouri State University with professional interests in writing about art, culture, and food.