Community Studio: Sculpture

Last Wednesday was our first Community Studio: Sculpture session in our newly renovated Barn Studio at the Empower Youth RanchCommunity Studio is a free art program for all ages led by SOIL SERIES artists with assistance from Empower Youth interns. Our Community Studios offer a dedicated time and place for creativity, inviting participants to broaden their definition of art and follow new pathways of thinking and making.

Please see our Community Studio Program schedule changes for the week of July 24th here.

During our first Community Studio: Sculpture session, we discussed these questions:

  • What is sculpture?
  • What makes a sculpture”good” or “bad”?
  • What do you use to make a sculpture?
  • How does creating a sculpture make you feel?
  • Why should a person make a sculpture?

We then transitioned into talking about assemblage. Assemblage is a form of sculpture comprised of everyday, “found” objects, often disparate elements scavenged by the artist.


  1. (n.) a collection of persons or things : GATHERING
  2. (v.) the act of assembling : the state of being assembled
  3. (n.)an artistic composition made from scraps, junk, and odds and ends (as of paper, cloth, wood, stone, or metal)
  4. (v.) the art of making assemblages

The artists we looked at included:


Louise Nevelson


Joseph Cornell


Johann Dieter Wassmann


Robert Rauschenberg


Pablo Picasso


Looking at these artists and their work helped us think about art can be a tool for understanding our lives. We applied this idea to our first project: using assemblage to help us get to know the Empower Youth Ranch. We talked about how assembling objects collected from around the ranch would begin to tell a story about the place and its history. The objects we chose and the way in which they were assembled would then represent our diverse perceptions of the ranch, creating a dialogue between the place and us. We agreed that if we get to know our ranch better then we might be able to love and care for it in better ways.

We began by exploring the ranch and scavenging for objects.

After hauling our findings back into our Barn Studio, we began piecing together our assemblages!

Some artist chose to paint their work like Louise Nevelson (above), and others wanted to leave the materials as-is.

This was our first week of working on our assemblage sculptures, but we will continue next time we meet to explore the ranch and our new compositions! Come scavenge and assemble with us!

All ages are welcome on Wednesdays for Community Studio: Sculpture with Hillary Wagner from 9:30 am -12:30 pm at the ranch. Bring your ideas and your imagination with you. All are welcome!

This week, our Community Studio: “A Million Ways to Make a Poem with Matthew Kosinski (normally Tuesday 6 – 7:30 pm for ages 13 and up) is cancelled due to scheduling conflicts but will be back on normal schedule next week (August 1st).

On Thursdays, we have Open Studios from 11 am – 6 pm. It is a time for free, self-directed art-making where we are ready at the ranch to talk about art and help bring your ideas to life! However, this week, (again, because of scheduling conflicts) we will be available by appointment only ( Open Studios will resume its normal schedule next week (August 1st).

Also stay tuned for a special Community Studio all about technology and art led by video and performance artist Francesca Fiore. Details will be announced soon.

**We are also still looking for donations of art supplies and books to stock our studio/lab. You can find some of our needs listed on our Amazon Wishlist, but we are also happy to accept donations of second-hand goods. If you have supplies you would like to donate, or if you would like to receive updates on upcoming workshops and events, please contact us.**

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