Master Craftsman students create community sculptures
(Jul 18, 2019) — As part of a partnership forged with the City of Kennesaw two years ago, students
in Kennesaw State’s Master Craftsman Program are creating unique public artworks,
ranging from colorful benches and decorative manhole covers to a sundial and an archway.
Recently, at the city’s Gateway Park, located at the corner of Sardis and South Main streets, a sundial, shade structure and a large archway sign created by the Master Craftsman students were unveiled as part of the project’s third phase.
“What an opportunity for the Master Craftsman Program students at Kennesaw State University to be recognized for their creativity and talent,” said Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling at the Gateway Park ribbon-cutting. “In addition, the experience gained through their collaborative efforts with the city has encouraged other businesses and students to join forces in showcasing art and building relationships throughout the community.”
Sculpture Lecturer and Master Craftsman Program Coordinator Page Burch said the program, now entering its third year, is designed to give students real-world experience. Open to anyone with an interest in art, the majority are non-sculpture majors who are drawn to the creative aspects of the course and the camaraderie.
“Non-sculpture majors love it because you don’t have to have sculpting skills to take it,” Burch said. “That is one of things exciting about our program. We draw our students from across many disciplines.”
Unlike traditional art studio classes that usually number about 15 students, the Master Craftsman class in KSU’s School of Art and Design is capped at 10, given the nature of the work is in group projects. The class fills up quickly during registration.
“One of the reasons so many students are attracted to it is that it’s such a drastic departure from what they do,” Burch said. “When we do an iron pour, it’s an exciting spectacle, totally unlike anything we do in the traditional sculpture program, and the students love it.”
The Kennesaw community will have an opportunity to participate in an iron pour on Saturday, July 20, when the Master Craftsman class holds one on the grounds of the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History during Railroad Rendezvous, the museum’s annual summer family event, which runs from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
“This will be our second year doing the Railroad Rendezvous,” Burch said. “For this, we build resin-sand scratch blocks that participants can carve into their own design. We then cast them in iron, and after they cool down, people can take them home. Each block is just $10, and all the money goes towards art scholarships at KSU. We also do this activity on campus in April during our Spring Arts Festival.”
Two benchesresembling large railroad stakes and a third in a geometric design, located on the Southern Museum walkway, were the program’s first installations in 2017. Two more geometric benches and eight custom-crafted manhole covers were installed at City Hall Plaza in March of this year. Later this summer, several more manhole covers and two new benches will be installed in the City Hall Plaza.
The manhole covers, which depict some typical Southern motifs like dogwood blossoms, lightning bugs and a largemouth bass, also include one that looks like a large pizza with a slice missing.
“We’re keeping pretty busy,” Burch said. “We’re getting ready to do a bench for the
Zuckerman Museum, and we’re doing a project nearby for the Town Center Community Improvement
District’s Aviation Park. Next spring, we’re looking forward to starting work on a
project with the Acworth Police Department.”
– Robert S. Godlewski
Photos by David Caselli and Shane McDonald
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.