Get Immortalized With Yoda and Indy at New Park

Later this summer, San Anselmo residents and Star Wars/Indiana Jones fans alike will have a new place to soak in the Marin County sunshine and become one with the Force. The San Anselmo Park project, which is being built on land donated by San Anselmo resident George Lucas and will feature two life-size bronzes sculpted by Academy of Art University’s very own Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble, will provide San Anselmo residents with a new city jewel and visitor destination.

(See also: Lucasfilm’s Yoda Fountain: A Discussion with the Artist)

Yoda and Indiana Jones bronzes by Lawrence Noble will be installed over a fountain at the new San Anselmo Park

Life-size Yoda and Indiana Jones bronzes by Lawrence Noble will be installed over a fountain at the new San Anselmo Park

The bronzes – a Yoda identical to the one installed at Lucasfilm’s Presidio and Big Rock Ranch campuses and an all-new life-size Indiana Jones – will tower over an artful stone fountain along the western edge of the park, which is located at the corner of San Anselmo Ave. and Magnolia Ave. While the land has been donated by Lucas, the fountain, benches, lampposts, drinking fountains, trees, landscaping and other features will be funded by donations collected by the San Anselmo Community Foundation – which is where fans and park enthusiasts come in!
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AAU Sculpture Students Shine at CCACA Event in Davis

The FASCU exhibit at CCACA

The FASCU exhibit at CCACA

Over the weekend of April 26-28, the city of Davis, CA played host to the 2013 California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts (CCACA), an annual event which showcases the best ceramic work from dozens of California colleges and beyond. This year, works by 30 graduate and undergraduate advanced students from Academy of Art University’s Fine Art — Sculpture program were exhibited, receiving a fantastic response from event attendees.

“This year was a spectacular success,” says FASCU Associate Director Margaret Keelan, who heads up the Ceramics program at Fine Art — Sculpture. “At least 500 people — artists, teachers, and collectors — came through each day, all raving about the show and the quality and professionalism of the presentation and work. This was a huge boost to our students.”

FASCU undergrad Shadoe Delgado, who exhibited one of his signature stylized figures and a trio of ceramic masks – found the CCACA event highly rewarding. “I think looking at all of the different schools and learning from other professional artists is important to our growth as students,” says Delgado. “It’s also really great when you’re talking about your instructor to another school and their response is, ‘THE Margaret Keelan?!?!’ We see her on a regular basis and almost forget how prominent she is in the ceramics world.”

The students are more than mere exhibitors at CCACA – it’s a working professional experience from start to finish. “The students set up the show, which involves cleaning and preparing the space, placing the pedestals, arranging the work and lighting it,” says Keelan. “They work in 1-2 hour shifts for the duration of the exhibition, talking to the public about themselves, their sculptures and our program. This was a profound professional experience for our young artists, who were able to apply their learned skills to a real world event.”

In addition to a healthy dose of public exposure, the students also benefitted from seeing the work of their regional peers. “Our students were able to see work produced at the same level in other programs throughout California,” explains Keelan. “It made them realize the value of what we teach in terms of skills and concepts.”

Check out the AAU student work showcased at CCACA below, and be sure to stop by the Facebook page for California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts to see more work exhibited at the event!

FASCU Student Sculpture Installations at San Francisco Zoo

Designer Van Nguyen stands with the steel skeletal structure of "Soul Connection" which will soon be installed at the SF Zoo

Designer Van Nguyen stands with the steel skeletal structure of “Soul Connection” which will soon be installed at the SF Zoo

Academy of Art University instructor Peter Schifrin’s Maquette to Monument class (FASCU 499) continues its strong relationship with the San Francisco Zoo this semester with several student installation projects currently underway. The following images represent the concepts submitted and approved by the SF Zoo, which we’ll update with a future entry that includes finished images once the installations are in place!

Van Nguyen – ‘Soul Connection’ – steel, stainless steel, cable-steel and mosaic

Van Nguyen – ‘Soul Connection’ – steel, stainless steel, cable-steel and mosaic

Melisande Inness-Brown – ‘Animals in Motion’ – copper forms and stainless steel

Melisande Inness-Brown – ‘Animals in Motion’ – copper forms and stainless steel

Deanna Wardly – ‘Voronoi in Nature’ – welded steel and etched copper

Deanna Wardly – ‘Voronoi in Nature’ – welded steel and etched copper

Spencer Roland and Evan Benelli – ‘The Helper’, welded forged steel on existing tree.

Spencer Roland and Evan Benelli – ‘The Helper’, welded forged steel on existing tree.

Kelly Froelich and Kelsey Evans-Lang – ‘Zooprint’ – glazed hand-made ceramic tile

Kelly Froelich and Kelsey Evans-Lang – ‘Zooprint’ – glazed hand-made ceramic tile

Student Sculpture Proposals for FASCU Office

With a new set of lovely French doors recently installed in the FASCU offices at the Cannery, an unexpected blank space was created to the left of the entryway — and what better way to fill it than with a custom relief sculpture created by a FASCU student?!

At the request of Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble, instructor Scott Donahue (Relief: Expression & Interpretation) set his students to work proposing several different possibilities for the space, which we are showcasing below. The students were instructed to carefully consider the space surrounding the relief (15th century English oak paneling) and the context of its location.

After much deliberation, a fantasy-themed Victorian elephant relief by student Seok Don Choi has been chosen to occupy the void framed by the centuries-old paneling, and is the final piece depicted below. We’ll update this story once the final relief is in place!

Many thanks to the students of FASCU 645 for their dedication and wonderful proposals!


Jihoon Choi chose to incorporate AAU school iconography and an old English font to convey the tone and purpose of the space:

Luotian Zhang incorporated several facial profiles into his design, each expressing a different emotion:

Welat Binavi took a more non-literal approach with a rather pleasant color-scheme:

Wenquing Cui took inspiration from the old walls to create an Egyptian hieroglyphic motif:


Finally, Seok Don Choi’s fantastical Victorian elephant proposal was selected for the space, which was supported by his stunning sketches and 3D mock-up:

Seok Don at work on the relief:

UPDATE: Check out the final work installed below — we think it’s absolutely fantastic!!

Finished elephant relief by Seok-don Choi

Sketching, Sculpting, and Skills posted a brief but insightful interview exerpt from the upcoming issue of Drawing magazine with artist Don Gale.

Here are a few noteworthy passages from the excerpt:

Drawing: Is drawing for sculpture much different from other modes of drawing?

Don Gale: There’s a difference between how sculptors and painters draw. Sculptors such as Michelangelo and the Florentine artists drew in line that defined the form. They were interested in where the form began and ended. Painters define form through light, through shades, so a lot of the time they don’t show the whole boundaries of a form in their drawings. When sculptors sculpt, they have to make the whole form—they can’t create it just with tone.

Drawing: How do you define “skill” with regards to art? How do you think it should it figure into an artist’s education?

Don Gale: Skill is applied knowledge. It’s when you know something and can apply it over and over again. People understand it in regards to music better than in regards to art. A musician has to know how to press the keys, how to position the fingers, and so on. And to really understand that knowledge, one has to apply it again, and again, and again. It’s the same with something as simple as learning to type or as complex as performing surgery.

When it comes to drawing, you have to have knowledge of how light hits the form; how to model it. Those are programs that you learn—a little like programming a computer to perform certain functions. That’s skill. Some teachers are opposed to skill because they feel it kills creativity. But in fact it’s the opposite—skill gives you the capacity to create.

Read the full excerpt here or pick up the winter 2013 issue of Drawing!

Noble’s Yoda and Indy Bronzes Featured in Star Wars Insider

The latest issue (#140) of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Insider magazine includes a 2-page spread showcasing AAU Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble’s iconic Yoda and soon-to-be-unveiled Indiana Jones bronzes. The story announces their imminent installation at a new park being developed in San Anselmo on land donated by George Lucas himself. We’ll stay on this story as things develop!

Allington House Sculptures to be Saved

Last October we reported on our Facebook page that FASCU instructor Barry Baldwin’s iconic Allington House sculptures were slated for demolition — but thanks to the combined efforts of Baldwin and a petition at, it looks like the “Endangered Species” sculpture will survive!

Here’s the message from Peter Berthoud, who started the petition “Land Securities: Stop the demolition of the sculptures at Allington House” on

Firstly a massive thank you to everybody who has supported the campaign to save Barry Baldwin’s Endangered Species Triptych.

We are delighted to announce that Land Securities are now committed to trying to save the sculptures and have employed industry leaders PAYE Stone & Conservation to undertake this delicate and difficult task over the next four to six weeks.

This is obviously fantastic news but now the question is where can these magnificent sculptures be suitably re-homed?

Ideally the sculptures should be in a prominent public space where they can be enjoyed for generations.

Might your organisation be interested in giving an appropriate new home to this massive and magnificent work? If so, please get in touch.

If you would like to stay up to date with any developments please keep follow the Save The Allington House Facebook Page.

Thank you once again to each and every one of you for your fantastic support.

A BIG congratulations to Barry Baldwin for helping save this magnificent work of art!

FASCU Featured in Latest Sculpture Review Magazine

Sculpture ReviewAcademy of Art University School of Fine Art: Sculpture students and faculty will be featured prominently in the upcoming issue of Sculpture Review, which is now on its way to subscribers! If you’d like to purchase a subscription with the National Sculpture Society (highly recommended!), head on over to their subscription page!