Based around a hub of core studios, a major in Sculpture offers students opportunities to enhance and inform ongoing work with an array of workshops, intensives, electives and seminars. The curriculum is further enriched by RISD’s fortuitous location between Boston and New York, affording students ready access to museums, galleries, performances and other culturally rich opportunities.
Approximately 35 undergraduate and a dozen graduate students in the department are guided and challenged by professors committed to helping each individual to push and refine his or her own expressive capabilities. Students show a lot of mutual respect for each other's work, offering informal critical feedback and helping each other with projects as needed. The many visiting artists and critics who come to campus each semester offer exposure to a wide range of work and philosophies, and contribute to the caliber of critical dialogue.
Sculpture majors work in shared spaces in the Metcalf Building, which houses a foundry, woodshop and extensive metal fabrication facilities. A full-time technician maintains the state-of-the-art foundry, where bronze and aluminum are poured weekly, and also supports wax-working, patina and rubber mold areas. In addition, students have access to a nearby iron foundry. In the studio, students are expected to assume responsibility for their own toolkit so that they come to understand the value of caring for the specialized tools a sculptor needs.
Xinwei Che BFA 2015
Marissa Valenza BFA 2014
Haley Davis BFA 2013
Entering the major as sophomores (after RISD’s required Foundation Studies year), students focus on such skills as wood and metal fabrication, casting, drawing and figure modeling through classes that emphasize conceptual and technical development. Juniors begin to identify areas for serious conceptual and technical investigation, supported by greater choice of electives such as robotics, advanced fabrication methods and a seminar in contemporary sculpture issues.
During senior year, students become increasingly self-directed, delving into their own research methodology and integrating conceptual concerns with technical skills. A Professional Practices class helps seniors prepare for life after graduation, with the final semester culminating in a thesis and degree project that articulates the central concerns behind the final body of work produced.
All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.
For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.
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