Sculpture of hundreds of small translucent orange discs hanging by string in such a way that they collectively form a sphere.

At RISD, Sculpture is about the growth of the individual as part of a larger community. The department ethos emphasizes visual and critical literacy and intensive skill acquisition in support of conceptually strong creative practices. Encouraged to experiment and push beyond obvious solutions, students learn to think holistically and understand the importance of the work they make as it relates to the world. Ultimately, they're able to produce meaningful work through a fluent command of process and the informed use of materials.

Degree programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

In the Sculpture BFA program you move from basic skill building to the development of a personal artistic voice, working across diverse media and formats such as wood and metal sculpture, performance, installation, video and more,

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MFA in Sculpture supports you in developing interdisciplinary creative practices through community-engaged discourse, research and an emphasis on visual and critical literacy.

In the studio

As part of an integrated community, undergraduate and graduate students work together and individually with every material imaginable. The curriculum supports students through a series of courses with the explicit purpose of building skills and literacies that help them understand how to make meaning using boundless materials, methodologies and media.

Featured stories

A Sense of Belonging

Brown|RISD Dual-Degree student Njari Anderson discusses the emotions behind Fountain, his Dorner Prize-winning sculpture now on view at the RISD Museum.

Please Touch

Sophomores in a fall Sculpture studio make work that invites the viewer to physically engage with it.

SPUR-Funded Research Underway

Juniors Gina Vestuti and Yukti Agarwal are using grants awarded by RISD Research to document the work of blues musicians in the US and traditional weavers in India.

Student work

Student building a mesh structure.

After RISD, Sculpture graduates join an extensive network of alumni leaders, many of whom have established themselves as studio artists, fabricators, teachers, designers, art writers, curators, gallerists, administrators, exhibition designers, puppeteers, performances artists, software designers and more. Over the years, these alumni have created a blueprint that can be followed, reformatted and tailored to each graduate’s personal aspirations.

Alumni at work

Janine Antoni MFA 89 | fine artist

New York-based artist Janine Antoni is renowned for using her body as creative instrument and site of meaning in works that blend performance, sculpture, video and photography. The 1998 MacArthur Award winner exhibits internationally and her work is collected in such major museums as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Whitney, MoMA and the Guggenheim in NYC, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. “Making something is like a fight,” Antoni has said in interviews. “Usually the material resists me all the way. If I can stay open… the material starts to speak back and tell me what it wants to be."

Jim Drain BFA 98 | studio artist

Best known for his exuberant, large-scale knit and sewn sculpture, artist Jim Drain also draws, paints and makes installations using colorful, quirky found and recycled objects. The former member of Forcefield—the influential art collective known for blending music, performance, film and installations—exhibits how work internationally and frequently collaborates with artists on site-specific work, including with RISD students on a sculptural piece for the US Embassy compound in Rabat, Morocco.

Andrea Zittel MFA 90 | studio artist

Through her experimental work, Andrea Zittel investigates structures and habits of everyday life—from clothing and shelter to the concept of measured time—and reveals their arbitrary nature. In 2000 she established A-Z West, a desert compound in Joshua Tree, CA, where she conducts experiments like the Wagon Station Encampment project, a “village” of pods where guests live in exchange for working on site. “You need to be able to see one’s life with a kind of perspective,” she says, “to understand how society works and how your decisions fit into that.”

Glue dripping through a metal grid.