Sustainable Sculpture Contest
INITIATIVE NAME Sustainable Sculpture Contest
UNIVERSITY Johnson County Community College
TAGS public art | reuse | recycle | curriculum | sculpture
CONTACT Kristy Howell <>


Second year sculpture students design public art with creative reuse in mind.


Students have the opportunity to create a public art piece, from proposal and funding to installation. Several pieces have been added to the campus' permanent collection.


In early spring semester 2011, Fine Arts Professor Mark Cowardin challenged his Sculpture II students to propose a sculpture that would depict a sustainability issue to the student body. Though not a requirement of the class, 12 students proposed inspiring images of waste, energy, recycling and reuse. The five sculptures described here were selected to be built and temporarily installed on campus. These sculptures not only display the infinite talents and possibilities of JCCC students, but they further the atmosphere of a “living, learning laboratory” on campus. These five sculptures were funded by a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee. The Student Sustainability Committee is charged with allocating the Sustainability Initiatives Fund, a fund to which all JCCC students contribute $1 per credit hour. These sustainability-themed sculptures are an impressive example of students contributing their resources and talents to creating a more sustainable campus and a richer learning experience at JCCC.


We've made changes and additions each year that we've repeated this opportunity for students. From affording students the opportunity to exhibit in gallery spaces in addition to outdoor installations, to offering more guidance on materials, the project evolves a bit every year.


While we continue to support Sculpture II students as the professor recommends, in the future we may explore opening participation to other media.  Such an expansion would likely focus on depictions of sustainable practices, broadly defined, across campus.