Arts & Culture

Warm Up Your November at UK’s Annual Iron Pour

photo of iron pour
photo of "Big 30" installation by Ira Hill
photo of "American Expressions" by Ira Hill

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2017) Things are heating up at the University of Kentucky School for Art and Visual Studies as the school hosts a weeklong schedule of events showcasing the metal arts. The 23rd Iron Pour, workshops and visiting artist lectures, featuring sculptor Ira Hill, run through Nov 4.

Joining UK students, faculty, staff and regional artists for the week of metal arts festivities will be guest artist Ira Hill. Hill received his bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the University of Alabama in 1998 and his master’s degree from Florida State University in 2006. He has continued his creative production leaving a wake of objects as proof of his belief that life is creativity.

Hill devotes his time to being a professional artist and activist based in Tallahassee, Florida. He has been awarded Artist Fellow at Salem Art Works, in Salem, New York, and the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. His sculptures resonate across a wide range of topics including environmental issues pertaining to water, current political issues, and three-dimensional graffiti proliferation.

As president of C4-Studio, Hill utilizes his technical abilities to create works in terrazzo for public art and private commissions. His recent interactive public art project “American Expressions” is a 16’ long x 8’ high American flag made of steel. Hill is currently working on the next phase of the project to transport his steel flag across the nation leading up to the next presidential election and documenting how Americans perceive his concept.

Running through Nov. 3, UK Metal Arts will host nightly mold-making workshops with Hill at the Metal Arts Building. These sessions will run 6 p.m. to midnight Monday–Friday. In addition, scratch block purchases will be taken daily during this time.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Hill will give the first of two free public lectures as the school’s visiting artist. As part of these lectures, he will talk about his life as an artist and his work. The first lecture, which includes a demonstration, will begin 6 p.m. Thursday, in UK Metal Arts Lab Room. The following day, Hill will deliver his second lecture at noon Friday, Nov. 3, in Room 122 of the White Hall Classroom Building.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, the Iron Pour will take center stage. Demonstrating the most dramatic part of the metal-casting process, historically UK's iron pours attract a national audience of artists, students and art enthusiasts alike, with past attendees coming from as far as New Mexico to take part in the event.

During this year's iron pour, art students from other disciplines and art enthusiasts from the community can purchase a scratch block and leave with their own pieces of art. The pour provides an opportunity for individuals to test their talents by etching an image in the resin tablets, having graphite applied and processed in the iron pour.

Iron Pour mold costs include $40 to produce a mold up to 100 lbs. in sand and 30 lbs. in metal. Another $20 covers each additional 100 lbs. of sand or 30 lbs. of metal. Additionally, $20 covers a 6” x 6” scratch block relief sculpture or $15 with a valid student ID. Lastly, $80 covers a 16” x 16” scratch block relief sculpture. Proceeds from the Iron Pour benefit the SCRAP Student Sculpture Club, who helps organize the festivities.

The Iron Pour schedule proceeds as follows:

  • molding and set-up, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.;
  • furnace burn in, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.;
  • first iron pour tap, 6 p.m.; and
  • mold iron pouring 6 p.m.

To find out more about any of the events presented in conjunction UK's 23rd Iron Pour, contact Garry Bibbs by phone at 859-257-3719 or email

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart education, and digital media and design.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue