Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inside-Baseball-Sunday @ KU

The Sculpture Program in the Art Department at the University of Kansas continues to build upon a prestigious history.   Sculpture first became an area of concentrated study through the efforts of Bernard Frazier in the 1940s.  Professor Frazier envisioned a program of study that combined fine art, architecture, and physical therapy.  Eldon Tefft joined the program in the 1950s and helped further refine and refocus the sculpture curriculum as fine art.  He was also instrumental in joining sculpture with the School of Fine Art.   In the 1960s, Professor Tefft created a series of national sculpture conferences at KU.  In the 1970's these conferences grew to become the International Sculpture Center, which is the foremost organization in the world for the dissemination of knowledge about all three dimensional artwork.

Professor Tefft continues to be listed on the masthead of Sculpture Magazine as the founder.  In addition, in the 1970's and 80's, Tefft worked with newly hired professors Phillip Blackhurst and Richard Gillespie to create a vastly expanded sculpture program in the new Art and Design Building. The program grew from a crowded 800 square foot studio in a quonset hut behind Bailey Hall to a 7,000 square foot program with separate studios for metal, wood, and foundry.  In the 1990's John Hachmeister was hired to redesign and upgrade the foundry program.

Following Phillip Blackhurst's retirement, Matt Burke was hired and redesigned and expanded the wood studio.  Jon Swindell stepped in to re-invigorate the metal studio program following the retirement of Richard Gillespie.  In addition to the current faculty member's service and research in their respective studios, all three have contributed to expanding the sculpture curriculum including Public Art, Environmental/ Installation Art, Art Car, The Figure/ 3D Anatomy, Wood Studies, and 3D Scanning-Rapid Prototyping.  In addition, the sculpture program has implemented public gallery spaces in Kansas City, helped create two arts incubators, and created a cognition-motor skill enhancement research program at the Kansas School for the Blind.   Our program outreach includes the design of a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral foundry program for the University of Costa Rica.

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