Sculpture Arts

Sculpture artists use a variety of materials, such as clay, wood or metal, to create 3-D art pieces. Read on to see the career outlook, description, salary and training.

Is Sculpture Arts for Me?

Career Description

Sculpture is the welding, carving, blowing and modeling of materials such as metal, plaster, wood, glass, clay, stone and even sand into 3-D works of art. Sculptures are often created for public display, and they can range in type from statues in plazas to sand sculptures on beaches.

As a sculptor, you can find employment working for individuals and companies on a contract basis. Occasionally, you might also work for the government on public art projects. If you obtain a degree in fine art with an emphasis in sculpture, you may find additional opportunities, such as working for galleries, television and movie studios, museums or other art-related organizations.


As a sculptor, you may craft realistic objects of art, such as human figures. Alternatively, you may specialize in abstract art, which is an art form that uses various media to create shapes and designs that do not necessarily attempt to mirror reality. If you're a metal sculptor, you may decide to concentrate on designing and making jewelry. If your interest lies in glass sculptures, you could become a glassblower. Some ceramic artists work as consultants in the ceramic industry. As with many other types of artists, only the most successful are able to support themselves solely from the sale of their works of art. However, if you have creativity, persistence and a love for art, you may turn your passion into a career.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of fine artists, which includes sculptors, was predicted to grow four percent from 2012-2022 ( Competition for all artist jobs was expected to be high. The annual median wage for all fine artists was reported to be $42,610 as of May 2013, also per the BLS.

How Can I Work in the Sculpture Arts?

Undergraduate Education

While a degree is not necessarily required for employment, a variety of skills may be developed and honed through a formal degree program in sculpture. Degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's levels. Bachelor's degree programs may require a portfolio review for acceptance, and master's degree programs will surely need to evaluate your potential as an artist.

By the end of a bachelor's degree program, you develop a professional portfolio, which is a key tool in your search for employment. After earning your undergraduate degree, you can also obtain a teaching certificate to enable you to become an art teacher, which prepares you to teach various types of art at the elementary or secondary school level.

Graduate Program

A Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture may give you a significant advantage in the job market, since you refine your sculpting techniques, and you learn about the business and politics of art. With a master's degree, you may also be qualified to teach at the college level.

If entering a degree program in sculpture art, you learn about the history of art and art criticism, as well as the technical skills necessary to create sculpture. You take classes such as life drawing, mixed media, 3-D form in space, 4-D design, installation art, metal casting, metal fabrication, mold making and painting.

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