Sculpture Program

The Sculpture Program at the University of Houston is an open laboratory for the investigation and manipulation of the world around us. Exploration begins with the physical world of objects and materials and extends through the conceptual realm of ideas and cultural dialogue. Whether they’re making large outdoor sculptures that need to withstand the Houston’s extreme weather, or doing a performance, creating a site-specific video installation, or putting the finishing touches on a sculptural object that fits in the palm of your hand, our students strive to make work that is personally meaningful and critically viable.

Sculpture is one of the most diverse, exciting, and fast-changing areas within the visual arts and we love working with students who want to push it even further. Our classes and facilities support a wide range of media including a 1,800 sq. ft. fully equipped commercial grade woodshop, 1,200 sq. ft. fully equipped metal shop with an adjacent
2,000 sq. ft. covered outdoor workspace, a ceramics area with electric and gas kilns, installation and exhibition spaces for student work, and a computer lab for video editing, large format printing and sound production.

Our students learn how to build and problem solve within the context of a major research university, in one of the most vibrant cities in the country. We have strong connections with the Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, both on campus, and we encourage our students to use these resources in the development of an interdisciplinary practice.

The Block Program

The Block Program is the heart of the Sculpture Program at UH. “Block” consists of three semesters of individualized studio work, group critiques and critical discussions, and culminates in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). The Block Program allows motivated students the opportunity to develop their own voice within the broad field of sculpture, with the ongoing support of faculty, visiting artists and their peers. Sculpture Block is characterized by the independence, ambition, intelligence and humor of its outstanding students. 

Block takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am to 5:30pm. On these days, students work independently in their studios, taking breaks to speak with faculty as needed. Students are expected to be developing their own ideas, just as professional artists do, by completing the necessary conceptual and technical research to finish their work at a highest level possible. Block students also attend lectures with visiting artists, as well as studio, gallery and museum visits in Houston. At the end of the third semester, each graduating Block student creates, exhibits, and documents their body of work in a group BFA exhibition. The BFA exhibition takes place either at UH or at one of the many non-profit art spaces in Houston. 

We encourage our Block students to develop the breadth of their practice by taking courses in Interdisciplinary Art at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center, working as a docent at the Blaffer Art Museum on campus, or interning at a local museum – all for course credit. In addition, Sculpture Majors are allowed to substitute up to 3 credits of
Block per semester in order to take related art courses such as Community Art, Materiality, Digital Editing, White, Sound Art, 3D Fabrication, or History of Film and Video. 

To apply to Sculpture Block

After completing the introductory coursework in Processes, Fundamentals and Intermediate Sculpture, students with a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply to become Sculpture Majors in the Block Program. The portfolio application compiles a student’s strongest work to date and is reviewed for admission by faculty each semester. For questions, please email Paul Kittelson, Sculpture Area Coordinator: pkittelson@gmail.com

Careers and Opportunities

The BFA graduates of Sculpture Block are able to imagine, construct, analyze and present their work with confidence. They have the skills and resources to support themselves as artists, or in whatever fields they choose after graduation. Our BFA grads have gone on to graduate programs at Columbia University, School of the Art Institute Chicago, SUNY Purchase, UT Austin, LSU and Florida State, and many others.

Employment opportunities offered to our recent BFA grads include working as an artist’s assistant, starting their own design/build firm, art handling and preparing, development assistant at the Rothko Chapel, web design, display design and installation, curating exhibitions, assisting with commercial photo and film shoots, interning at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and teaching, just to name a few. If you’re wondering what a BFA degree in Sculpture can do for you in the world after you graduate from UH, we’re glad to tell you more. 

BFA in Sculpture or BA?

The BFA and BA at the University of Houston are significantly different degree programs. To help you determine which is right for you, we’ve outlined some of the main differences below. For more detailed information or to talk with someone about which program fits you best, please feel free to contact Paul Kittelson, Sculpture Area Coordinator: pkittelson@gmail.com

The BFA offers:
•    three semesters of focused attention on your artwork;
•    individualized mentoring by faculty to support development of technical and
conceptual skills;
•    private studio space with 24/7 access;
•    access to tools and machines in each of the Sculpture shops;
•    access to tools and machines, including digital fabrication and spray booths
in the Keeland Center in the UH Architecture Department;
•    one-on-one studio visits with visiting artists and curators;
•    experience in the essential aspects of exhibiting your work, as with the BFA
exhibition;
•    guidance in the professional aspects of being an artist after graduation;
•    support in applying for internships, residencies, post-graduate study and jobs. 

We encourage students who are curious about sculpture and how the world around them can be manipulated to reflect their ideas to apply to the BFA degree program in Sculpture. 

The BA offers:
•    focused attention from faculty and adjunct faculty in the basics of sculptural fabrication and concepts;
•    classroom space to work on projects;
•    access to tools and machines in each of the Sculpture shops;
•    basic overview of the professional aspects of being an artist after
graduation
•    the opportunity to exhibit your work on campus.

We encourage students with a general interest in the fabrication and conceptual underpinnings of art to apply to the BA degree program in Sculpture.