Fort Hays brings aluminum pour to Perry-Lecompton students
by Clarke Davis
Middle and high school art students at Perry-Lecompton were able to see their recent creations come to fruition with an “aluminum pour” made possible by the Fort Hays State University art department Friday.
Art instructor Diane Drummond and her assistant, Erin Dugan, a graduate student at Fort Hays who is student teaching at Perry-Lecompton, provided the students with sand molds, also called scratch blocks.
They had to carve out, chisel, hammer, and drill their molds creating a substractive sculpture in preparation for the pour.
Toby Flores, sculptor and assistant professor of art and design at Fort Hays, provided the propane-powered portable crucible that melted aluminum beyond 1200 degrees F. “It’s probably closer to 2000 degrees,” he said.
Once melted, the aluminum was poured over the students’ molds to create the final product.
Flores said the offer to assist various art departments began as a recruiting tool, a way to promote the university. However, he said, it’s more than that now.
“With most schools losing funding leaving art classes strapped, it’s more important than ever that we help out,” he said. “Many students would never get to experience this if we didn’t provide it.”
Dugan is the daughter of retired PLHS teacher Sherry Dugan and attended school in the Seaman District.
The furnace was designed by Flores and built by him and his students.
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