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Special Topics

Each semester, one of the following courses is taught as a Special Topics in Sculpture seminar and/or studio class. These provide additional learning opportunities beyond the core curriculum of the Sculpture program.


Digital Fabrication
This Special Topics course is an introduction to various approaches and techniques related to digital design and fabrication. The course addresses a number of ways to create 3D files as well possibilities for manifesting those files in real space. Topics include, but are not limited to 3D modeling and rendering, 3D printing, 3D scanning, and CNC machining.

Land Art
This course will focus on a range of topics related to Land Art, including contemporary ecological and environmental sculpture projects. Students discuss the 1960s and 1970s origins of Land Art in the American West (Earthworks) in relationship to a more expansive practice of working in the landscape. There are also be a number of field trips scheduled to local sites such as abandoned marble quarries, nature centers, and urban farms. Studio projects range from site-specific object making and environmental installations to photography, video, and performance.

Wood Sculpture
The focus of this course is the exploration of wood as a material in Sculpture. Studio projects will provide an opportunity to learn and experiment with traditional and contemporary uses of wood. Demonstrations will include a variety of woodworking techniques with manual and power tools, including steam-bending and vacuum forming.

Social Sculpture (formerly Art in Public Places)
This course examines the complicated process of creating art in public places including historical precedents, design strategies, social dialogue, funding issues, and political implications. Current social practice and post-studio trends are explored including relational aesthetics and its historical precedents such as social sculpture and Fluxus. Studio projects are conceptually based assignments that are open to a wide variety of materials and solutions. Students are encouraged to work off campus and engage non-art audiences.

Community engagement projects

The Sculpture Program at the University of Tennessee provides numerous opportunities for students to extend their learning from the classroom into the local community. We believe that experience in community arts and public art projects is critical to preparing students for future professional opportunities. Each semester, faculty members organize events that allow students to integrate their sculptural work with local gardens, parks, greenways, and public schools.

Students also participate in apprenticeships and internships with local sculptors who may be working on larger-scale public art commissions. During the spring semester, Sculpture students assist professional sculptors to install new outdoor artworks in downtown Knoxville as part of the Dogwood Arts Festival Art in Public Places exhibition.

Current community partnerships include a recycled scrap metal sculpture exhibition with Dogwood Arts Festival and steel recycler Gerdau – the exhibition in 2015 and 2016 was staged at the Knoxville Convention Center and organized by students in Professor John Powers’ Advanced Sculpture class.

All Sculpture majors are required to participate in organizing exhibitions off campus in pop-up spaces, traditional galleries and non-profit art spaces. Some of this artwork is featured in the Senior Capstone exhibits, but the Advanced Sculpture class typically includes one major group exhibit off campus each semester.

During Spring 2015 semester, the Land Art special topics class, led by Professor Jason Brown, installed outdoor site-specific projects at William Hastie Natural Area, Mead’s Quarry, Beardsley Community Farm and other public parks around Knoxville. Past projects included outdoor student sculptures installed at the UT Horticultural Gardens and a community sculpture festival organized by the Sculpture Club at a local riverfront park.

The results of the former Art in Public Places class included a collaborative sculptural installation at a local public high school, temporary environmental art installations throughout Knoxville, and public performances on city streets. Students have also completed permanent public art projects such as forged iron and steel gates at the James Agee Memorial Park in the Fort Sanders neighborhood.

Sculpture Club

sg_logoThe Sculpture Club is a student organization that was established to promote the creation and exploration of sculpture at UT. The club organizes community outreach events, facilitates workshops and works with other organizations to bring visiting artists to the UT campus. Club members believe in art’s inherent potential to create community and we strive to expand our ‘neighborhood’ beyond the UT campus.


Primary Contacts
Corinna Ray
Joshua Shorey

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