Texas Tech University :: School Of Art

Sculpture Seniors Accepted into Grad Programs Around USA
Written by Douglas Chapman

Tech’s School of Art students in the sculpture program have a high success rate of being accepted to MFA programs in universities across the country. This success can be attributed to the great work being done by instructors teaching in the sculpture school’s BFA program.  Sara Waters, MFA and professor in sculpture and William Cannings, MFA and associate professor in sculpture have combined their efforts and teamed up for a few years now to provide professional guidance and instruction to their sculpture students.

Both Waters and Cannings are professional, working artists as well as instructors. They are providing their students with first-hand knowledge in sculpture methods and techniques as well as constructive criticism and advice. “I think our team effort has succeeded in making an excellent creative environment for our sculpture students,” Waters said. “Our students are receiving two kinds of feedback and instruction from us,” she said. Waters stressed that placing a student prematurely into the sculpture program could be a “paralyzing experience.” “We observe each student closely and note their progress,” she said. “A student who is in his or her last year of study and shows self-confidence, self-motivation, does not need to be assigned work, and shows they can work from their own ideas, will be the ones placed in our sculpture program- they need to be able to hone in and develop their ideas on their own,” she added.

Piotr ChizinskiThe graduates from last year and this year’s senior class are those kinds of students. They have all been accepted or are about to be accepted into MFA programs from around the country. Waters said there are three promising artists in this year’s class. Joel Kiser, from Levelland, has received two offers, one from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and one from Colorado State in Fort Collins.  Both schools are offering “full rides.”  Poitr Chizinski, from Connecticut, has received an offer of a “full ride” plus a stipend from Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is also in his second stage of acceptance to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pa. and is still awaiting news from Syracuse University.  Finally, there is David Brokaw, from Abilene, who has just received news of his acceptance to the University of California at Fullerton with scholarship, tuition waiver, and assistantship. “This is so good!” Waters exclaimed. “I am more proud of David than I imagined I could be,” she added.  “I like the program and the way the environment is conducive to growth whether it is formal or conceptual,” Brokaw said.” I like the camaraderie, I like the fact that we all work together and help each other out as friends, not just students. I also like the advice we get from Sara, who is more mixed media and from William, who is more formal- you get different kinds of feedback and that helps a lot,” Brokaw said.

David Brokaw“I like the fact that students are allowed to work on the emphasis they enjoy doing,” Chizinski said. “In this environment, we can choose a specialty, which is encouraged, and we have all the tools, equipment and raw materials to accomplish our work too,” he added. Cannings explained that when he first came to Tech, there was no established metal shop and it was poorly equipped. He said the first thing he wanted to accomplish was to perform a complete overhaul of the metal shop. “I work with metals in my sculptures,” Cannings said, ”and, when I first came here I knew I had to do something.”  Cannings almost single-handedly transformed the metal shop into the first-rate shop it is today. “Now the metal sculpture students have something they can work with,” Cannings said. Not only did Cannings take it upon himself to improve the metal shop, Waters is getting into the act by refurbishing a building in Slaton right now for art students to show off their works. Chizinski said that not only do students need to apply to show their works ahead of time (sometimes up to two years ahead of time) but they also have to pay a hefty fee to secure that spot. Waters believes this is unfair and is trying to do her part in helping out art students.
Waters said last year’s class of sculpture students are not to be forgotten and are doing quite well for themselves at the present time. There was John Carrasco, who accepted a full scholarship and is currently teaching at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Ryan Collins, who accepted an assistantship at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; Lindsay Palmer, who accepted an assistantship at the University of Colorado at Boulder; and, Mike Phillips, who accepted an assistantship to New Mexico State University at Las Cruces.

So, to all serious sculpture students out there looking for a great place to go for an education and promising future, you might want to contact Texas Tech for a really good sculpture program. You can contact Sara Waters at: sara.waters@ttu.edu or William Cannings at: william.cannings@ttu.edu. Hats off to all those art sculpture students who are excelling in their fields and rising to the top!