Digital + Studio Arts are heating up!

Spring kicks off with a bronze pour, a barbeque and a casting demo in Studios A/B
Sculpture Professor Brighton McCormick assists student Tavia Snyder in taking the temperature of molten bronze, which melts at around 1,700 degrees  Fahrenheit, as they prepare for another
round of filling molds.
Sculpture Professor Brighton McCormick assists student Tavia Snyder in taking the temperature of molten bronze, which melts at around 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, as they prepare for another round of filling molds.
Conan Searcy

On the afternoon of Wednesday April 17, students and faculty from across campus congregated in Studios A and B on Taylor Avenue to share in the excitement of a live bronze pour.

Sculpture students made for quite the spectacle decked out in protective gear while pouring a glowing stream of molten metal into plaster casts they had prepared. The pour was a collaboration between Sculpture and Fundamentals of Making, with both classes supplying molds to be casted in bronze. A group of onlookers had amassed to cheer and snap photos, huddled behind a safety zone marked with caution tape. Outside, hot dogs and veggie burgers sizzled on the grill, and in the next room over, Hamline’s Sculpture Guild guided participants through a DIY pewter casting demo.

As they geared up for the second round of bronze pouring, seniors Nasra Sufi and Alex Sirek shared their thoughts and experience within the sculpture course.

Sufi had not extensively worked within the medium of sculpture until receiving a scholarship from the Hamline D + SA Department to attend a workshop at Anderson Ranch, a Colorado arts center offering workshops and residencies. During the workshop, she gained skills in welding, which she hoped to expand upon through taking a class at Hamline.

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“I want to build more welding skills to maybe incorporate in my style. I’m only a DMA [Digital Media Arts] major, I’m not a Studio Arts major, but I’m always down to try new things,” Sufi said.

Sirek originally became inspired by the Southside Battletrain, a collaborative art project that has been active in Minneapolis since 2006. Its official website,, describes it as a “human and machine powered train of epic proportions.” Upon joining the course, Sirek appreciated the wide survey of mediums and techniques that were offered, as well as the environment of the class itself.

“It’s also a very egalitarian atmosphere, and I feel like it doesn’t have a lot of the issues that are really really common in sculpture,” Sirek said.

While students and attendants bustled between spaces, second-year student Soren Goebel helped to lead a pewter casting demo using cuttlebone. Cuttlebone is an organic material sourced from cuttlefish that is easy to carve and resistant to high temperatures, making it optimal for creating a mold. Participants etched their designs into the material and handed it off to the Sculpture Guild members running the event to be filled with molten pewter.

Goebel helped to plan and organize the event in collaboration with Brighton McCormick, the current sculpture professor at Hamline. The goal was to find an activity that would be accessible to newcomers.
“I wanted this to be an introduction to casting and metal arts for people, but also have it still be something easy and crafty,” Goebel said.

Leadership changes have impacted Sculpture Guild’s ability to host consistent events, but the club hopes to organize events with more regularity next academic year. Goebel also emphasized the versatility of the Sculpture Guild as a space for all artistic mediums, not just sculpture.

“More of the stuff that we end up doing is 3D art-based, like this for example, but it’s not limited to just that. It’s mainly about the art, but I think it’s fun to just come and hang out and make stuff. I feel like we usually get a good group of people going. It’s something to do while meeting other people,” Goebel said.

The sculpture program, currently headed by Brighton McCormick, is one of many programs encompassed under the recently established umbrella of Digital + Studio Arts, a merger between the formerly separate Digital Media Arts and Studio Arts departments that began in 2022.
Despite some uncertainty as students and faculty continue to figure out the future of arts programs at Hamline, Wednesday’s event was a strong demonstration of the continuing vitality and enthusiasm that surrounds the program.
“I’m glad that we’re gaining some sort of community, especially in the Fine Arts department. I just hope that everyone around on campus, or even off campus, just realizes that fine arts, and especially sculpture, is for everybody, and you’re always welcome to participate. It’s okay to be scared, but at the end of the day, it’s really super fun,” Sufi said.

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