Sculpture is a time and space discipline. Contemporary practitioners in this vast house of sculpture today, must be masterful and resourceful  problem solvers. They must be capably  wiling to take risks, while moving from room to room in order to serve the inherent needs of their work. The Sculpture Department has built a curriculum around core studios with an open framework of elective studios and seminars affording the student optimal customization of their curricular pathway through to the degree.

Faculty and students pedagogically engage our facilities teaching students to think while they make and make while they think. We foster and nurture independent and critical intelligence while gaining confidence of the varied and allied processes and materials inherent to contemporary sculpture. Our goal is to empower students with all the tools necessary to be resourceful problem solvers within a simultaneously rigorous risk taking studio practice.

The Sculpture Department is comprised of a set of core undergraduate and graduate studios. Around this hub, we offer students opportunities to enhance and inform their ongoing work with an array of workshops, intensives, electives, and seminars. Our curriculum is further enriched by our geographic position between Boston and New York, affording us easy access to museums, galleries, and visiting artists/critics. RISD’s close relationship with Brown University creates a fertile learning environment by enabling students of both schools to cross-register for courses.


Rhode Island School of Design’s Sculpture Department is a community of 45 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate students. There are three full-time and six adjunct faculty members.

The Sculpture Department prepares its curriculum and facilities to teach students to think independently and critically; to gain a command of the varied technical processes inherent to sculpture as a means of realizing ideas; and to develop a true understanding of both traditional and contemporary sculptural issues. We emphasize a high level of production and an extensive, ongoing critical dialogue.

As a major during the sophomore year, sculpture courses emphasize technical skills as well as essential concepts within the sculpture tradition. As juniors, students begin to identify areas of personal interest and intensify their own investigations. Their work becomes increasingly self-motivated and self-directed as seniors, and culminates in a thesis and degree exhibition that expresses their ability, initiative, and direction.

Throughout the entire program of study, students are guided and challenged by diverse, committed faculty. They are exposed to a wide spectrum of skills, philosophies, and professional experiences by visiting artists and critics, as well as by an active community of peers. Our visiting artist program involves approximately six visitors each year to present lectures, studio demonstrations, and studio critiques.


Undergraduate sculpture students share the historic, four-story Metcalf Building with the departments of Ceramics, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Glass, and Furniture Design. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors share three large studios. Students have 18-hour access to their studios, and access to the foundry and wood shop during monitored hours.

The Sculpture Department has a full-time technician who maintains a state of the art ceramic shell foundry where we pour bronze and aluminum weekly. The foundry is supported by wax-working, patina, and rubber mold areas. We also enjoy a working relationship with a nearby iron foundry. Our metal fabrication capabilities include a 50-ton iron worker, 4′ power roll, 30″ band saw, 20″ disc sander, 4′ plasma shear, freehand plasma arc cutter, two TIG welders, MIG welder, arc welders, gas and coal forges, and oxy-acetylene welding. Hand forming includes Hosfeld and Di-Acro benders and a large English wheel. A forklift, inside and outside cranes, and oversized doors facilitate moving large objects.

The department also has a woodworking machine room that includes a table saw, chop saw, 14″ and 20″ band saws, drill press, 48″ lathe, 20″ disc sander, 8″ jointer, and 20″ planer.

Graduate sculpture students have 24-hour access to their private and semi-private studios in the Fletcher Building, an interdisciplinary studio with Painting, Printmaking, Glass, and Photography grads. Graduate students have a wood shop, computer lab, and print shop in the building as well as access to the Metcalf foundry and wood shop.

Also, the Sculpture Department has photography set up with both digital and traditional cameras, an industrial sewing machine, several hot wire tools, and many other specialty tools. Sculpture students share a Fine Arts computer center.

RISD is incredibly rich with facilities: looms in Textile Design, a full machine shop in Industrial Design, and a hot shop in Glass to name just a few. Students can study a large collection of natural artifacts at the Nature Lab. The New York Times has described the RISD Art Museum as an “eloquent teaching museum.”


RISD offers Scholarships ranging from $500. to 23,000. per year for students demonstrating artistic and academic excellence as well as financial need. More than one quarter of the student body receives RISD scholarships.

Work Study opportunities exist for both undergraduate and graduate students who qualify financially. Work Study students monitor all shops and are a vital part of the Sculpture Department’s curriculum. Graduate Assistantships are available to all graduate sculpture students. Graduate Fellowships are need-based and come from both college and department sources.