Sculpture Alumni

Alumni Stories

Jonathan Lanier, "Caterpillar," 2020, steel
Jonathan Lanier, “Caterpillar,” 2020, steel.

Jonathan Lanier, BFA 2019 – UA foundry assistant

The sculpture department at UA provided me with the technical and conceptual skills necessary to pursue a career as an artist. The faculty and staff members really care about their students and always challenged me to dive deeper into my practice.

Sculpture by alumna Sam Joslin
Sam Joslin, “Terry,” felted wool, fabric, wire, wood (cedar and birch), 10 x 6 x 4 inches

Sam Joslin, BFA 2019 – MFA candidate at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

I have no doubt in my mind that the people and resources from the sculpture department helped make me into the driven artist I am today. Throughout my time in the sculpture department, I was provided unmatched opportunities for learning new skills and concepts like metal foundry, metal fabrication, wood-working techniques, as well as conceptual perspectives from some of the smartest people I will ever know. I was also taught practical knowledge about how to pursue a successful creative life in many forms. This department is very involved in the community of Tuscaloosa, which I feel is very rare in a university sculpture program. This also led to many opportunities for public sculpture initiatives. The professors genuinely cared about my well-being and are still invested in my future as an artist. Although I did not go into undergrad at UA initially pursuing a sculpture degree, I know I am so lucky to have studied there. The faculty and peers that I created relationships with there will undoubtedly be involved in my artistic life for years to come and for this I will be forever grateful.

Jamie Reschke, BFA 2017 – project coordinator, Chauvet Arts, Nashville, Tenn.

I am very thankful for the education I received when I was a student in the University of Alabama Sculpture department. My experiences as a sculptural student prepared me for my professional career as an artist and in gallery management. I would not be in the place I am today if it wasn’t for my supportive professors, challenging curriculum and the resources provided by the sculptural department.

Kelly Shannon, crescente, 2013
Kelly Shannon, “crescente.”

Kelly Shannon, MFA 2016 – art education coordinator, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

UA’s graduate program in sculpture really makes you examine your choices, not just artistically but in all aspects of your life. By the time I earned my MFA I had no doubts that I was doing what I was meant to be doing. And the relationships you form with your mentors last well beyond graduation.

Meredith Knight

Meredith Knight, MFA 2015 – assistant professor of sculpture, Alabama State University

While studying Sculpture at UA, I received support, expert advice, and access to facilities that allowed me to grow as an artist. Professor Wedderspoon encouraged exploration and risk-taking while instilling a depth of knowledge and a strong work ethic. As a productive artist working in the field, I rely daily on what I learned in Sculpture classes at UA.

Ali Jackson, BFA 2015 – art teacher, Storm Grove Middle School, Vero Beach, Fla.

Joining the sculpture program was one of the best decisions I made during my time at the University of Alabama. The professors and instructors in the art department really care and were always there to support you whether with a well-timed joke to make you smile or just an ear to listen.

Amber Jones Triggs, BFA 2015 – artist/owner, Humble House Studios, Memphis, Tenn.

The Sculpture program taught me so much about work ethic and the importance of community. I can clearly picture a day when Craig talked to us about the kind of work ethic we would need in order to be successful in the sculpture program, and the habits I built during that period have carried me through my personal and professional life. All that work can lead to burnout, though, if you don’t have a community to support and encourage your growth through it, and that’s just what the Sculpture program is. It’s a family that you’ll always be part of.

Adam Hill

Adam Hill, BFA 2012, owner/founder of Ferrea Iron and Design, Atlanta, Ga., maker of bespoke furniture, lighting and architectural metalwork

My creative path began in the sculpture department at UA and it hasn’t ended. The possibilities of what I could create as a new artist and maker were endless between the resources, equipment, and expert guidance from the family at the UA sculpture department. I didn’t realize it enough at the time, but my future was being carefully nourished by the UA art department and through hard work, I was met with a scholarship, post-graduate fellowship, and a career as a maker and business owner.

Chelsea Lloyd, BFA 2008 – volunteer coordinator, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tenn.

Wire and feather sculpture by alumna Chelsea Lloyd
Chelsea Lloyd

The sculpture program at UA helped transform my future career path from one of science to art. Thanks to the patient knowledge of my instructor, Craig Wedderspoon, and the well-equipped facilities, I was able to explore multiple mediums until I found a combination that suited my newly tapped potential. Although my current job does not include my college love of leather and a TIG welder, it does immerse me in the inspirational world of art and surrounds me with the wonderfully unique souls who are all drawn to that same aesthetic flame.

Brittany Armistead, BFA 2007, assistant director, Creative Services, Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Ala.

The lifelong support, shared knowledge, and access to tools, materials, and facilities at UA created an environment that inspired and encouraged my creativity. The peer critiques and hands-on instruction from expert faculty provided me with not only the know-how to design and produce work in a variety of media, but also the critical thinking and problem-solving skills employers look for in job candidates. The University’s sculpture program truly prepared me to excel in every aspect of life after college.

Barbara Kilgore

Barbara Kilgore, MFA 2005 – art instructor, Northeast Alabama Community College, Rainsville, Ala.

I have always said “It isn’t about the tools you have; it is about what you do with them,” but having all the right tools to do the job makes the expression of one’s ideas much more effective. The sculpture department at The University of Alabama provides you with the tools and the knowledge you need to use them. The instructors challenge you to move beyond what you are comfortable with to explore innovative ideas and mediums. They also give students a real-world understanding of what it takes to be a full-time artist. It is a fantastic place to learn and grow as an artist.

Paul Outlaw, BFA 2004 – artist, co-founder and co-owner, The Factory NYC, Brooklyn, N.Y.

My life changed course during my time at the sculpture program in the department of art & art history at the University of Alabama. Not only was I taught the skills, techniques and work ethic necessary to maintain a successful studio art practice, but the faculty also guided my research towards contemporary movements and influences that helped shape my critical thinking, giving me the conceptual fortitude to confidently explore the depths of my creativity while successfully navigating the global arts community. Being from a small Alabama town, the sculpture program was one of my first in-depth introductions to art beyond my sectarian understanding. My experience there expanded my understanding of what art can be and helped me realize that I too could contribute to the cultural conversation of the world.

Mario Gallardo, MFA 2003 – executive director, Walnut Gallery; fine arts coordinator, Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala.

Mario Gallardo

The sculpture department at the University of Alabama provided room for me to explore sculpture as a way of thinking that was not limited to media or traditional processes while offering opportunities to develop the technical skills to realize my creative vision.

Michael Dudley, BFA 2002 – art teacher, Mountain Brook High School, Mountain Brook, Ala.

To say that my experiences in the sculpture program at UA were formative would be an understatement. They were profound and indelible, really. The relationships that I built during that time, both with the other students that were there, and with my professor as well, have lasted long since. And the lessons that I learned – and there were many of them – are still lessons that I use today even in my own classroom. The smell of the woodshop where we toiled away still feels familiar when I return to visit. And the tools we used still feel familiar in my hands. Only now, I have the privilege to show someone else how to use them. The faculty there were as adamant about my ambitions and my learning as I was. They were committed.  They helped to drive me forward, and to find opportunities for me. They were models for what I eventually became. My time in the sculpture program set a spark off in my imagination. That spark led to an education in architecture for graduate school, along with a stint in New York City and Birmingham in that profession. Finally, I settled into a job teaching art actually.  And I couldn’t be happier. You could say I came full circle, and maybe I did. I believe in what I do, and it’s meaningful work too. I am able to offer the full scope of my experiences to the students that I teach. And I remember very well where those experiences began. And beginnings are so very important.

Return to Sculpture

Marketing Major Learns Metalworking, Creates Public Sculpture

Madison Grooters, a 2023 graduate in marketing at UA, found herself immersed in a new public sculpture project last spring, something she didn’t expect but soon got very excited about.

UA Art Faculty Accolades – Spring 2023

In April, Dr. Jennifer M. Feltman delivered a plenary lecture, “Digital Twin Technologies, Notre Dame and Beyond: Current Challenges, Possible Futures,” at the 2023 Medieval Association of the Pacific Annual

Molly Lay Presents MFA Exhibition at UA Gallery

The University of Alabama Gallery is proud to present the exhibition, An Act of Attention, the Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition of Molly Lay. The exhibition will run April