Arts students to make can sculpture for Johnson Center grand opening

Published 12:07 pm Friday, September 12, 2008

“The Little Engine That Could” coined the phrase, “I think I can. I think I can” but it’s folks like the students in Greg Skaggs’ 3D design class at Troy University who really can.

About 30 of Skaggs’ students have put their creativity and their artistic bent to the test constructing an Andy Warholish can sculpture that is sure to be a showstopper.

The students were challenged with designing a can sculpture that will be a

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“point of interest” at the Grand Opening of the Holman and Ethel Johnson Center for the Arts on Sunday.

“The Prints of Andy Warhol” exhibition will be the featured exhibit for the event.

“Richard Metzger, executive director of the Troy Pike Cultural Arts Center, approached me this summer about doing a construction project based on Andy Warhol’s soup cans,” Skaggs said. “Both of us have seen these constructions made of different food item cans in malls. After the sculptures are dismantled, the food items are donated to food banks. So, that was the idea behind the sculpture.

“And, since the Johnson Center for the Arts used to be the Troy Post Office, the students decided that the sculpture should be a mail drop box.”

To construct the mail drop box, the students needed a “ton” of blue food item cans.

The original idea was to use olive cans but not enough of those cans could be found, so the students opted for 2,000 Pepsi cans and a huge stack of tuna cans for contrast.

The mail drop box sculpture will be seven to eight feet in height and have a four-foot base.

“We’ll use shelving of plyboard that we’ll shape with a scroll saw and the cans should stack rather easily,” Skaggs said. “If we have to do some banding to keep them together, we’ll do that. And, we’re going to have to figure out some way to put the U.S. Postal Service logo on the sculpture.”

The plans are to also incorporate a video into the design.

“The idea is to have a video behind the mailbox that shows people walking,” Skaggs said. “That should add some interest. And, if we have enough cans donated, we might do an impromptu sculpture.”

The mail drop box sculpture will be on display Sunday in the Cultural Arts Studio across from the Johnson Center for the Arts.

Visitors to the Studio are encouraged to bring a canned food item which will be donated to the local food bank.

Entertainment at the Studio will be presented by the choirs of First Baptist Church and First United Methodist Church of Troy following the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Johnson Center for the Arts at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Everyone is invited to visit the Studio and enjoy all of the activities of the day.