The department’s curriculum and pedagogy encourage students to develop their work in ways that actively engage intersectional and relational thought and action through both Sculpture studio courses and extensive electives. This praxis-based community focuses on the co-creation of an environment in which all students feel supported, seen and heard, so that they benefit from the individually specific feedback from professors and peers so crucial to their development.
Graduates are prepared to:
• establish a rigorous artistic practice that engages in multidisciplinary pursuits
• understand the role of artists on a local and global scale
• engage in community arts practices that are well researched and tied to action plans
• research and solve problems
• utilize skills working with myriad materials and processes
• demonstrate the conceptual acumen necessary to express ideas in tangible form
• engage in inclusive dialogue about a wide range of art practices and ideas
• use a clear artistic voice to articulate meaning visually, verbally and in writing
Approximately 50-60 undergraduate and a dozen graduate students in the department are guided and challenged by professors committed to helping them push and refine his or her own expressive capabilities. Students show mutual respect for each other’s work, offering informal critical feedback and helping peers with projects as needed. The many visiting artists and critics who come to campus each semester provide exposure to a wide range of work and philosophies, and contribute to the caliber of critical dialogue.
Undergraduate Sculpture majors work in shared spaces in two locations: the historic Metcalf Building and the newly renovated Point Street Studios. Metcalf houses a foundry, a newly expanded woodshop and extensive metal fabrication facilities that are maintained by two full-time technicians. The state-of-the-art foundry allows for bronze and aluminum pouring and is equipped to support wax-working, patina and rubber mold-making. As sophomores, students are assigned large blue lockers that serve as a work bench and house personal tools during their three years as Sculpture majors. Each sophomore is also assigned home space in the lofty fourth floor of the Metcalf Building. Juniors and seniors maintain a locker room in Metcalf and have open plan areas with plentiful workspace at Point Street.
Xinwei Che BFA 2015
Marissa Valenza BFA 2014
Haley Davis BFA 2013
The Major Studio course forms the backbone of the student experience in Sculpture. As sophomores, students focus on basic skill acquisition, working across wood, metal, casting, performance, installation and video, while also learning about the histories of these skills. Junior year is geared toward developing a personal artistic voice and deepening skill acquisition through intensive studio electives. Students are asked to take command of conceptual and formal concerns and build skills on a project-by-project basis. By senior year, students incorporate skills, literacies and expertise into a final degree project, which culminates in a public group exhibition on campus.
During their senior year, students become increasingly self-directed, delving into their own research methodology and integrating conceptual concerns with technical skills. Professional practices workshops during the fall semester and individualized guidance during the spring semester help seniors prepare for life after graduation. The final semester culminates in a thesis and degree project that articulates the central concerns behind each student’s art practice.
All first-year applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Experimental and 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.
Apparel DesignArchitectureCeramicsDigital + MediaExperimental and Foundation StudiesFilm/Animation/VideoFurniture DesignGlassGraphic DesignHistory of Art + Visual CultureHistory, Philosophy + the Social SciencesIllustrationIndustrial DesignInterior ArchitectureJewelry + MetalsmithingLandscape ArchitectureLiterary Arts + StudiesPaintingPhotographyPrintmakingSculptureTeaching + Learning in Art + DesignTextiles