Photos by Crosby Ignasher
On Friday, sculpture students and faculty gathered in the upstairs gallery at the Moon River Brewing Company to present their work and support the sculpture minor in Savannah at the “Goodbye Boundary” exhibition.
“It’s really like the last opportunity to show significance of the major and the minor, the quality of the work they produced by having those classes and professors,” said Mirielle Jefferson, a fourth-year painting major from Hoover, Alabama.
This week, students enrolled in sculpture classes at Boundary Hall found out that the sculpture minor is retiring in Savannah. SCAD is not renewing the lease on Boundary Hall and will no longer be offering classes to complete the minor.
“We weren’t really provided with a reason why; it just happened,” said Sami Lee Woolhiser, a fourth-year painting major from San Jose, California, who is president of the Sculpture Forum Club. “It might have been coming for a couple of years, we just don’t know.”
Some students received an email from Steve Bliss, the dean of Fine Arts, explaining this change. Bliss encouraged them to make an appointment with Christine Wilson or Liza Judson in the student success office to help with course planning.
“I was really angry and I was very surprised, because sculpture is one of the most original art forms and it seems they should have that at their main campus,” said Natalie Cranor, a second-year photography major from Atlanta.
Cranor took her first sculpture class, Beginning Sculptural Practices I, with Professor Chris Nitsche and decided she wanted to declare it as a minor around week five of the spring quarter.
“My professor told me there was talk of getting rid of the minor and I should try to declare it now,” said Cranor. “So that’s what I did, but they wouldn’t allow me to.”
Cranor was unable to declare sculpture as her minor because the classes she needed were most likely not going to be offered in the future in Savannah.
“The dean said that I was not allowed to declare because they were trying to make it a teach-out process only,” said Cranor.
After meeting with her adviser and talking to Kristen Crouch, a photography major alumni from Wilmington, South Carolina, and the co-president of the Sculpture Forum, Cranor is contemplating whether or not she wants to go to Atlanta, where classes are still offered to pursue a sculpture major or minor.
“I think it’s a big loss,” said Jefferson. “I know a lot of students that have really benefitted from just taking one or two courses in the sculpture department and really utilizing it into their majors, into their works.”
Crouch merged her sculpture work with her photography through experimental processes, including transfers and printing on wood and metal.
She received her degree last quarter, but before she leaves to open a White Cube gallery in Wilmington, South Carolina, she wants to do as much as she can to keep the sculpture minor in Savannah.
On Wednesday, Crouch created an online petition called Save Sav Sculpture and sent the president’s office an email in an attempt to stop the eradication of the minor.
“The most frustrating thing is probably the lack of respect and understanding for the importance of fine art in an art college,” said Crouch. “If they take away sculpture, this university is one step closer to being a technical college, where kids are just learning how to render, not learning how to use materials.”
Crouch received an email back from the president’s office and has a meeting with the administration on Monday.
“No one wants to own up to it and no one will give a straight answer and that’s what I’m hoping to get on Monday,” said Crouch.
For more information about the Sculpture Forum, go to their blog.