Discover the Best Sculpture Classes in NYC
Sculpture is artwork that is three-dimensional, and has been used as a form of self-expression since ancient times. Sculptors work with a variety of different materials; clay, wood, and metal are some of the more common ones, but some sculptures incorporate less conventional items such as recycled materials, or “found” objects. Sculptures can range in size from small objects to large public monuments, and can also exist in a variety of styles such as realistic, or more abstract, or conceptual.
Why You Should Learn Sculpture in NYC
Sculptors develop a number of different skills that can be useful in other settings. For example, they learn to work with many different tools and materials, and they develop their hand-eye coordination and spatial and problem-solving skills. Sculptors also need to learn persistence and patience, since some sculptures can take months to complete. All of these things can be assets in any type of creative career, including other types of art, but also in jobs like engineering or design.
Learning sculpture is also a way to do something creative. Sculptors can experiment with a wide range of different materials, manipulating and combining them in an even greater number of different forms. In recent years, some sculptors have even started to add other elements–such as sound, light, or video projection–to their work in order to create an interactive viewer experience. Many people say that the high level of creative freedom associated with sculpting is very rewarding.
In-Person Sculpture Classes & Schools in NYC
In-person sculpture classes are one of the most popular ways to learn to sculpt, and there are many options in New York City. Wagner College Lifelong Learning offers Open Studio–Figure Sculpture, which takes place on Saturday mornings and runs for four sessions. Students in this class use a long-term pose, and sculpt with clay, however, they are also welcome to draw or paint from the pose. This class costs $150, which includes the model fee, clay, and firing costs. Wagner College is located on Grymes Hill in the borough of Staten Island. Its Lifelong Learning Program helps students of all ages gain enrichment, diversity, and self-empowerment.
Brooklyn-based UrbanGlass offers a hollow core casting class called Casting the Void, where students learn to cast sculptural objects with interior voids that can be viewed from the outside. The class also covers writing kiln programs, coldworking, and polishing glass. There are seven sessions in total, and tuition is $1,240. Glass casting experience is helpful for students planning to take this class, but it is not required. UrbanGlass is the largest public-access glass facility in the New York area, and also functions as a studio for more than a hundred different artists. It runs classes on a variety of glass-related crafts.
The Compleat Sculptor also offers sculpting classes. Stone Carving Class: A Skill Based Approach is $295 for four sessions. Classes run on Tuesday evenings, and new students can join at any time. Students learn to use stone carving tools sequentially, practicing each new skill with an assigned project. They eventually work up to designing original sculptures. The price of this course also includes open studio time. It is designed for beginners, but can also be beneficial for more advanced carvers. Basic tools are provided, however, students must buy a limestone block for essential projects. The Compleat Sculptor sells sculpture supplies and runs a variety of different sculpture classes. It is located in New York City, near the Flatiron Building.
In addition to stone carving, the Compleat Sculptor also runs a variety of other types of sculpture classes. Introduction to Direct Sculpting in Wax is a three-hour workshop in wax sculpting. Students learn to produce wax molds that can be cast in bronze, silver, or glass. Tuition is $235, and includes all materials. Students also get to keep their sculpting tool. Resin Rubber Overview: Mold Making is a two-hour class focused on making molds. Students learn about various mold-making materials, and how to use them to make molds. The class is designed for beginners, Tuition is $55.
Michelle Greene Sculpture also offers sculpting classes. Greene is a working artist, and has also taught at a number of universities. Her studio is in Brooklyn. Mig Welding is a two-hour class that costs $280. This class is limited to only two students, who learn to set up the machine, tack, and run a bead. Students create a small sculpture to take home with them. They should wear closed-toed leather or suede shoes, cotton socks, and a long-sleeved cotton shirt, and bring a long-sleeved sweatshirt. Welding gear is supplied. Greene also offers other types of welding classes including Introduction to Oxy-Acetylene Welding, where students learn to braze with a torch.
East Village Hats runs a sculpting class called Sculpting Flowers in Thermoplastic. This class costs $595, and runs for two sessions. It is designed both for students interested in making hats, and those who want to learn about working with thermoplastic. Students learn to combine thermoplastic and silk to make headpieces, creating patterns, and using coloring techniques. All materials are included. East Village Hats is located in New York City’s East Village, and sells a variety of different handmade hats.
Virtual Sculpture Classes & Schools
Another way to learn sculpting is to enroll in a virtual sculpture class. Virtual classes are a good option for students who don’t live near an in-person school, or are unable to commute to one. With the virtual format, students are still able to learn from a live instructor; they just do so via a conferencing platform like Zoom, rather than in person. A downside to the virtual format is that students generally have to supply their own sculpting tools and materials, unlike with an in-person class, where these are often supplied.
The non-profit Evanston Art Center runs a virtual sculpting class called Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Making Sculpture, where students create sculptures using non-traditional materials. The goal of this course is for students to learn to break down the boundaries that are imposed by the use of traditional sculpting materials. Fishing line and kitchen shears are needed for the first class session. Classes take place via Zoom, and tuition is $375.
Portrait Sculpture is another virtual sculpture class option. This course is offered by Grand Central Atelier, which is a non-profit art school based in Queens, New York. Curriculum for this class includes sculpting a portrait from a live model, sculpting specific expressions, and infusing life in a sculpture. Students also learn about recycling materials, using measurements, and maintaining clay at home. Tuition is $495.
A variety of other visual and fine-art skills can also be learned virtually. For instance, the Chicago Botanic Garden offers a weaving class that has eight sessions, and costs $374. In Introduction to Weaving, the instructor begins by helping students construct their own looms. After that, they learn about a number of different tapestry approaches and weaving techniques. A supply list is sent out after registration is complete.
Some people also like learning to sew virtually. The New York Sewing Center offers a virtual four-session class called Sewing 101, which covers many different sewing skills including understanding sewing terminology, reading a commercial pattern, choosing the right fabric, setting in a zipper and waistband, and using different stitches and seam finishes. Students create a drawstring pouch and a pair of drawstring pants or a skirt. Tuition is $450, and supply lists are provided on the first day of class.
Private Group Sculpture Classes in NYC
For New York City residents who want to plan a fun group activity or team-building event, CourseHorse offers sculpture classes for private groups. The booking process for these classes is simple, with no registration required, no booking fees, and a class confirmation emailed within 24 hours of booking.
For groups that want to learn sculpting, there is a class called Virtual Clay Hand Building. This class costs $75 per person, and can accommodate up to 500 people. Participants learn a variety of different pottery techniques, and then create either a candle holder or a planter. No prior experience is needed, and all materials are provided. Sculptures are made from air-dry clay, which does not need to be dried in a kiln.
Another popular group art class is the Virtual Mosaic Tray Workshop. In this class, participants use mosaic tiles to create a design on a tray, and add grout to stabilize the design. All necessary materials are shipped to participants ahead of time. This class costs $85 per person, and can be taken by up to 100 people.
The Polymer Clay Jewelry class also involves sculpting with clay. In this class, instructors cover a variety of different techniques, and then participants create their own custom jewelry. Clay, sculpting tools, and accessories are all shipped ahead of time. This group class costs $85 per person, and can be taken by up to 500 people.
There is a flexible change policy for all group classes booked through CourseHorse, which allows changes to the total group size up to 72 hours before the event, as long as the minimum group size has been met. To learn more about scheduling a private group sculpture class, contact CourseHorse.