Western Colorado University has one of the best facilities for sculpture in western Colorado. Sculpture students work with a variety of materials and processes, carving or constructing objects in wood, clay, and metal in addition to the procedures used in casting bronze, iron, and aluminum. Other courses available within the department explore electronic and kinetic possibilities in contemporary sculpture, including mechanical motion, sound, and kinetic environments. While strongly supporting traditional media, the department maintains an experimental approach. "We push students to confront the problems in their concept and to solve them," Al Caniff explains. "If the student wants to make a piece that will take three years and cost $10,000, the student either has to find a new solution or confront his or her expectations." The sculpture instructor, representing varied points of view, is involved with his own work and personal research; as a teacher, he is thoroughly committed to developing and directing creative and ambitious students.
The department boasts excellent facilities. Students enjoy access to a metal shop containing facilities for welding with oxyacetylene, MIG, and TIG, and for fabricating, as well as access to a complete woodshop complex. In keeping with Western Colorado University's cross-disciplinary approach, students are encouraged to explore other media, and they can expand their background in three-dimensional thinking by taking classes in other studio areas.
Exhibitions of student work in the student gallery, critiques, and the diverse aesthetic and conceptual concerns of both students and faculty members create a lively and stimulating work environment.