Carving in Stone: Where to Go for Sculpting Classes
Written by THOMAS COOPER
This sidebar is a supplement to The Sculptor vs. The Robots
The National Sculpture Society’s executive director, Gwen Pier, has found that Fred Brownstein—the marble sculptor profiled in our Winter 2023 feature, “The Sculptor vs. The Robots“—is being joined by more and more sculptors who love doing figurative work. “There has been a swing back,” she says. In the 1950s, there was a rebellion against figurative sculpture, and the Society, Piers says, chose to “support and promote figurative work to keep it alive.” Today, she adds, there are numerous programs to train figurative sculptors who want to work in marble. The following programs are gleaned from lists assembled by the Society.
- The Marble/marble Symposium, Marble, CO
Every summer, this organization offers three 8-day resident workshops for both beginning and advanced marble sculptors. Residencies are held in a small marble-mining town that sits at an elevation of 7,950 feet, at the bottom of a deep valley in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. [See Craftsmanship’s article about the workshop, and a profile of the town of Marble and its remarkable history in, “Colorado’s Marble Motherlode.”]
- Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
For nearly a hundred years, this private art academy has been offering classes and full degrees in fine arts and crafts, including sculpture. Courses are offered in-person and online within the Academy’s School of Fine Art. Students can learn sculpture techniques for figurative and non-figurative works in a wide range of mediums, including ceramics and bronze.
- Art Students League, New York, NY
This Manhattan-based art school offers short- and long-term courses in sculpture, in mediums ranging from wood to wax. Students can also take metal-sculpting classes and learn welding techniques. Beginners and more advanced students work alongside one another under the guidance of instructors and mentors.
- Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC
Nationally recognized sculptors teach at this South Carolina cultural center, which is known for its unique combination of art, nature, and history. Brookgreen Gardens is also home to the nation’s largest collection of American sculpture, with an emphasis on figurative works. Workshops are offered onsite throughout the year.
- The Carving Studio, Rutland, VT
Students of this Rutland, Vermont, studio learn the art of sculpture while surrounded by a sculpture garden and the old workings of the Vermont Marble Company. The Carving Studio offers courses in a wide range of sculpture practices, as well as residencies, workshops, and events.
- The Compleat Sculptor, New York, NY
This New York outfit offers an extensive range of sculpting courses, including collaborative workshops with Pellettieri Stone Carvers’ Academy. Classes are geared towards individual skill levels and offer guidance from practicing sculptors.
- Florence Academy of Art, Italy, Sweden, and Jersey City, NJ
You can study classical sculpture in a renovated customs house in Florence, Italy, through this well-established program. Since its initial founding in 1991, the Florence Academy of Art has expanded to include post-secondary and graduate study options in Sweden and New Jersey.
- Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT
All skill levels are welcome to attend figurative sculpting courses at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. Study alongside working sculptors and artists, and learn about symmetry, perspective, and the care and keeping of materials.
- New York Academy of Art, NY
Take classes online or in-person through this comprehensive art academy. Sculpture courses may include figurative work taught by established sculpture artists, and are available in a range of experience levels.
- New York School of the Arts, NY
Practice sculpting in wood, stone, clay, and less common materials through one of this school’s many class offerings. Students have the opportunity to gain studio experience as well as foundational instruction in all aspects of sculpture, from historical perspectives to contemporary practices.
- The Marble Workshop, Pietrasanta, Tuscany, Italy
Courses in marble sculpture are offered in this art-centric town in northern Tuscany. It is said that Michelangelo preferred the marble from this region. Classes are conducted with a step-by-step approach, guiding students toward a well-formed finished product.
- Campo Dell’Altissimo, Tuscany, Italy
Sculpture courses here use a clearly articulated method, with instruction in tool selection, materials, and technique. All work uses locally sourced, white Carrara marble, and Campo students enjoy an immersive experience in Tuscan culture and food.
- Campo Berlin, Berlin and Bradenburg, Germany
Both advanced and beginning students are welcome at Campo’s Berlin and Brandenburg locations. The school imports Carrara marble for students’ use.