Sculpture Center

The Sculpture Center ~An Overview~

By now you probably realize that TAB in most configurations is very “Center” oriented. This post is a collection of past posts and the ways my sculpture center has been set up in various years.

The Sculpture Center contains a variety of  reusable and recycled materials that students can use to build 3-D objects. Typically, before the sculpture center is opened, we have a class lesson on WHAT is sculpture. We look at tons of slides of art work made in every 3-D medium possible. The favorites are always the recycled materials and the FOOD! In some years, I have hosted my “Sculpt Around the Room” activity to expose them to the many different types of sculpture and materials available. Click here to learn more about the Around the Room Games.

The Sculpture “Center” in 2020-2021

With Covid completely closing our school and putting us online 100% from March 2020 until April 2021, I was not really able to “assign” any physical sculpture units. But I did have sculpture as an option for many of our open-ended challenges. Because of that I saw work from home in Legos, cardboard and a number of projects from our digital platform “TINKERCAD.”

Once we were back in the classroom, I was not allowed to set up any of my traditional centers due to Covid contact and cleaning rules. So instead I made a bunch of sculpture “kits.” I bought 2 gallon zip lock bags in bulk and filled them with a great variety of recycled and purchased materials. The kids did give me back anything they didn’t use, which I set aside for future reorganization and redistribution.

Despite these challenges, sculpture is still a favorite for many 3D and hands-on artists, so it was exciting to have some of them back in the classroom to give them the opportunity to use these materials.

Sculpture in 2018

This year I had to be in a small temporary room, during construction. I had only one small sink, no counters and very little storage space. Even with the smaller space, I knew I needed to keep sculpture in the program. Each of my centers were set up at the end of my large tables. I had things for students to access on the shelves above the table and teacher access items in closed boxes on the shelves below the table. It was not ideal, but it was sufficient for the short year in this temporary room. I even managed to bring over my cupboard with the tool peg-board.

Sculpture in 2016

This center is SO crazy! So many supplies, so much mess and so much engagement with so many kids! Students get a whirlwind introduction to sculpture with my intro unit. I developed the unit this year because of the success of my other intro units. I think 60% of the materials in this center are donations! The biggest investments are the tape and glue. This year I added a tool peg board. This still needs some adjusting too. I used to be really uptight about the neatness of this area too… But I have let it go! They can still create and when it gets too bad, I have a mini shut down and make kids clean it up.

Last year I added the tool peg board. I am not a huge fan of it, because the hooks fall out too often. I think this year I am going to glue on the hooks to keep them from falling out. I also added a small table near by that has electrical outlets for glue gun access.

I have one of those old wooden paper sorting shelves. The plastic “shoe” sized boxes fit perfectly into these units. I label the boxes clearly for all the smaller sized sculpture items on both ends and restock as needed. The other shelve is a big book shelf that fits milk carton sized bins of larger materials. Still trying to find the best way to organize and label this area.

This center is on its own table and only fits about 5 kids. If there are too many kids, I will either make a waiting list or expand to the nearby table as needed. There are no plug-ins nearby, so the hot glue gun is in the nearby paint center. I have never liked it there and want to figure out a better system, but haven’t figured that out yet.

Sculpture student work over the years

Click to see some more sculpture student work galleries. Sculptures: Games and Toys  Sculptures: Buildings  Sculptures: Planes, Rockets and Cars  Sculpture: Creatures  Sculptures: In a Class of their Own

One comment on “Sculpture Center

  1. Hi..

    I’m in a new studio classroom this year as we just renovated one of our old buildings. Now i have the opportunity to design the studio for TAB. I am not an expert when it comes to sculpture so i could like to see some ways of how to store materials and what kinds of poster/visuals to post. The studio environment needs to be kept clean and neat if at all possible.

    Thanks and looking forward to talking with you soon.