Sculpture Walk Springfield turns even a casual downtown stroll into an engaging adventure. Missouri State students are playing a part.
When Deidre Argyle, assistant professor in the department of art and design, joined the advisory board of Sculpture Walk Springfield, she had one request. “I wanted to have a student spot, just one spot for a student sculpture each year,” she says.
The board designated the corner of Boonville and Mill as a site for student work, and the 2017-18 Sculpture Walk included a piece by Missouri State student Suzanne Ahlvers. The next year’s Sculpture Walk featured three student works, and visitors to the 2019-20 exhibition can check out four pieces by student artists.
This progression happened organically. Argyle says, “The selection committee found the students’ work to be as competitive as the outside work, so they said, ‘Let’s include them.’” In fact, three of this year’s student sculptors received up-front money to build their pieces — part of grant program sponsored by Peg and Bob Carolla.
Such opportunities, Argyle says, are extraordinarily rare for undergraduate students. Submitting to Sculpture Walk is typically her students’ first chance to create professional proposals and have their ideas reviewed alongside those of more established artists.
“They’re competing with an international pool,” Argyle says. “This year, there were 74 submissions for 23 spots.”
Such experiences not only benefit the students; they also extend Missouri State’s ties to Springfield’s vibrant art scene.
“We continually seek out ways to engage with the community,” says Dr. Shawn Wahl, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “It’s deeply embedded in our mission and part of our commitment to promoting the arts in Missouri.”