Sculpture has been a part of Architecture since ancient times – not just as decorative elements, but as essential components evident in the overall design. If one studies a historic Greek structure, the chiseled stone columns and the elaborate frieze work of the gables are easily discerned as sculpture, but the very form and proportions of the building too are sculptural.

Those elegant forms that speak to the way that we see and relate to our world have stood the test of time for two important reasons: one, since they have connected us to our world and experiences, we wish to preserve them; and two, because of their craftsmanship. If an artist evokes an image that connects us to our universe and does it with craftsmanship that enforces credibility, what results will stand for us and future generations.

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As time has passed, we create and repair fewer things by our own hands. The increased sophistication of our devices means that we know them less, and we are losing our own ability to shape our thoughts through the direct manipulation of materials. Yes, you can create amazing things with a computer, but is the grain or rigidity of a piece of wood or stone speaking to you? Is the awesome heat and flow of molten metal controlled by our seemingly fragile hands? When artists work with these materials and construct foundations, frame and finish buildings, they learn techniques and the basics of structure. These lessons cannot only be applied to their standalone pieces, but to architectural details.

Through building, artists learn many disciplines. They learn structure and the ways to connect materials for strength and longevity. Since the earliest times, humans have gone past the basic needs of shelter and the making of tools for survival. The vessel becomes more than a container for foodstuffs, but also a means to show and share the celebrations, humor, and misery of life. Shelters become emulations or extensions of nature and the heavens.

For sculptors to expand their abilities into the realm of architecture, they greatly expand their reach. Architectural components can be a chance to communicate with those that see or inhabit the structure, enriching their experience, and completing the intention of the overall design.

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Tarleton Castle, the structure itself, was constructed to symbolize the dreams and capabilities of humankind. It relates to its surroundings in form and materials. Thus far it has been my creation, but it stands as an object to be completed in collaboration with other artists. It and the studios and structures that eventually make up the campus of Tarleton Castle Arts will have the contributions of many hands and minds. Doors, windows, and floors; balconies, balustrades, and banisters; chandeliers, sconces and staircases; gargoyles, brackets and columns; friezes, murals, and stages: all present opportunities to contribute to design. To create within the design constraints of human need and the properties of the materials chosen. These give artists a chance to grow as makers, to make things of lasting value, and to work as part of a team.

In addition to making elements of the Castle and Complex, we expect visiting artists to be developing their personal art. The direct experience of working with others toward a common goal can accelerate their learning process, add to their skills, and broaden their perspective on art.

Art that stands the test of time needs to be well made, and it needs to reach out to its audience. Art that becomes part of the fabric of a building meant for public use has great exposure to many. If the artist’s goal is to create individual pieces of sculpture or craft beyond the integration of Art and Structure, their standalone work will benefit greatly from the time spent learning the skills of design and planning, building components, and their requirements. So much is taught from construction, such as strength, balance, and scale. All of these aspects of complex 3D artwork are useful to know if given a commission for sculpture or creating a piece that must withstand the elements of wind, rain, sun, and frost.

In a way, we have a stage that is set: the commitment that I have made in starting the Castle, and in working with a team to create a functioning organization, are in place. We now offer the chance to join the effort – it is a major one, and now needs input from many hands and minds. Each artist will have the opportunity to expand the skills that they will use in their own work, in the construction, and a chance to contribute their artistic stamp to the Castle and all its surroundings.

-Tim Dailey, Founder and Executive Director

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