The Sculpture program at PAFA embraces contemporary and classical approaches across a broad range of art making—from traditional figurative sculpture to video and installation art.
Students receive hands-on training from PAFA’s talented sculpture faculty about tools, materials, and techniques of sculptural composition and fabrication, figure modeling and carving, bronze casting, woodcarving, welding, plaster casting, foundry, and site-specific sculpture.
Students learn anatomy, sculpt the figure from the life model, and cast their sculpture in the bronze foundry. Advanced courses offer guidance on getting commissions and creating public sculpture.
Sculpture students receive private studios while also having access to large common studios and excellent sculpture shops and tools. The Annual Student Exhibition is a chance to exhibit professional quality sculpture and site-specific work.
All advanced Certificate and BFA students are provided with studio working space. Students have 24-hour access to the studios, which are maintained in a facility with safety and security features.
The Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building houses outstanding sculpture facilities including a large clay figure modeling studio, a room for casting and plaster work, a mold-making room used for ceramic shell molds, rubber molds, wax working, patina work and sand blasting.
PAFA's sculpture shops have a supportive and inspired atmosphere. The shop manager provides technical advice, including one-on-one instruction with tools. Every student receives an individual studio. Students also participate in tutorials and group critiques, showing their work to an art-informed audience.
A large, multi-room fabricating area features a wood shop, metal shop, foundry (ceramic shell casting) and a separate shop dedicated to stone carving. A metal shop has a number of welding stations and is equipped for gas MIG and TIG welding, and the foundry is capable of pouring 120 pounds at a time. There is a kiln for firing small clay sculpture and a portable hoist. The wood shop is completely equipped with an instant stop table saw, radial arm saw, stationary sander, miter saw, band saws for metal and wood, drill press, planner, joiner, lathe and pneumatic air tools. Hand tools can be checked out, and materials are sold on site.
PAFA also has a large “gang studio” for installation and independent sculpture work and a dedicated room for sculptural installations, and a sculpture gallery that hosts changing exhibitions of student work.