SIUE’s Sculpture on Campus program will host its 17th annual Sculpture Walk October 4-6. The program, which features ten pieces by eleven students, began in 2000 as a way to develop the students as professional artists.

“To build a large piece of sculpture is very different than building a small piece of sculpture. The way you design it, the way you engineer it, is a very different mindset,” explained Thad Duhigg, professor in the SIUE Department of Art and Design. Duhigg leads the Sculpture on Campus program.

While the program is a competition - up to twelve students are selected to compete for three cash prizes - the program fosters collaboration and community.

“You can’t build a large piece of sculpture on your own. You need other people,” explained Duhigg. “So the students really pull together and help each other out.”

Cleveland-based artist David Deming, who has served as juror for the 2017 competition, notes the program’s relevance as preparation for a professional art career. “It gives the students an accurate sense of what they’re going to be involved in the rest of their lives if they are going to continue doing this sort of thing. They have to learn how to be collaborative.”

That collaborative community fostered by the program extends to the relationship between the visiting artist and the students. Deming arrived on campus more than a week ago to work alongside the students and conduct studio critiques. Past jurors have included such notable names as the late contemporary art star Luis Jimenez.

Aside from building the students professionally and installing more than 150 sculptures across campus, nearly 40 of which remain today, Duhigg says the program has sparked conversations about art on campus and in the community.

“The level of dialogue about art - pro or con - has been much more active [with this program],” said Duhigg. “When you’re confronted with large pieces that aren’t necessarily representational [...] or they deal with issues that you agree or disagree with, I think there’s always that kind of nice dialogue.”

The 17th annual Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Sculpture on Campus program kicks off with a free public lecture by Deming at noon Wednesday, October 4. On Friday, October 6, the public is invited to view the installations during the free Sculpture Walk beginning at 4 p.m. in front of Art and Design East. The Walk includes a tour in which the students speak about their work. The 2017 winners will be announced in a ceremony at 6 p.m.

For more information about the SIUE Sculpture on Campus program, click here.

For more information about upcoming free and discounted arts events happening in the St. Louis region, check out the ARTS Card calendar. Don't have an ARTS Card yet? Get one here.