Northwest Missouri State University art program creates floating sculptures

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of artists and sculptors is expected to increase over the next several years. Those who wish to launch careers in this industry can benefit from enrolling in a design class at an institution of higher education.

For example, students who are in three-dimensional design classes at Northwest Missouri State University (NMSU) have the option of participating in a variety of projects. Steven Banks, who teaches the course, created a challenge for the students, in which they design floating artwork.

Colorful paper mache heads can be seen in NMSU's Colden Pond during the Floating Head Regatta. The heads, which stand between four and five feet tall, mostly resemble video game characters and animals. Past designs include a crocodile, a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater, a love machine and Gumby. To make them float, students fashioned rafts out of pieces of foam, cardboard, plastic bottles and swim noodles.

Banks, an instructor in Northwest's Department of Art, said the idea for the project blossomed while the class was trying to think of ideas for a public art project.

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