Artist in Residence

Sloss Furnaces Foundation is seeking a new Resident Artist for Sloss Metal Arts program (SMA) for two and three year positions.

These are full-time positions in Birmingham, AL, working in the historic iron foundry and all studio operations. Resident Artists are the lifeblood of the Sloss Metal Arts program performing all foundry related tasks as well as fabrication, maintenance, & education. These positions work closely with the Foundry Manager to meet Sloss Metal Art's mission through compelling artistic programming, visionary strategic planning, and sound operational management. Ideal candidates will be experienced in a variety of foundry processes, actively creating and exhibiting artwork, and have completed a related academic degree.

Background

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark is the nation’s only twentieth century blast furnace now interpreted as a museum. Sloss operated as an industrial foundry until the early 1970s. Upon closure, Sloss was deeded to the City of Birmingham, for reuse and interpretation as a museum of the industrial history of Birmingham. From the beginning of Sloss’ transformation to a museum, artists have been at the center of the Sloss experience. Sloss Metal Arts began in the late 1980s, as a means of demonstrating the foundry work that occurred at Sloss while propagating Birmingham’s ironmaking history.

 

Over the years, various iterations of SMA have inhabited Sloss Furnaces. A formal framework was established in the early 2000s consisting of 4 resident artists with extensive experience in the process of iron casting. The primary roles of Sloss Artists in Residence are to demonstrate the practice and production of iron casting as part of the Historic Landmark’s mission, and to create new metal artworks and build their portfolios. The third duty is to educate patrons and students on the craft of iron casting.

 

Sloss Furnaces Foundation is a private, 501c3 nonprofit corporation that fosters the preservation and development of the Sloss Furnaces site through arts, education, research, and historic-preservation initiatives. Although the City of Birmingham owns the Sloss site and operates the museum therein, Sloss Furnaces Foundation administers the SMA program. Accordingly, this position is in the employ of the private nonprofit Sloss Furnaces Foundation, and not with the City of Birmingham.

Job Description

Job Summary Sloss Metal Arts (SMA) is seeking highly motivated and energetic Resident Artists. Reporting to the Foundry Manager, RAs will be responsible executing all day-to-day operations of all creative workspaces. Studios include: Metal Fabrication, Blacksmithing, Foundry, and Mold Making, etc.

 

Resident Artists work in collaboration with the other resident artists to build a positive creative community by maintaining constructive and creative collaborations with within the foundry as well as support the mission and vision of SMA as it relates to Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.

 

As the preeminent position of iron casting art foundries, Artists in Residence have access to a 35 year legacy of accumulated creative resources at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. To date the foundry includes: two small cupolas, two large cupolas, speedy melt crucible furnace, large gas fired tilt furnace, 2 ton jib crane, bull ladles, 200lbs & 400lbs sand mullers, gravity fed sand hoppers, wax and rubber molding facilities, burnout kiln, ceramic shell shop, 2 ton forklift, one-day trebuchet, and ease of material sourcing via our location in a historic foundry city, The Magic City.

 

Resident Artists are member of the Sloss Metal Arts crew and will perform road pour demonstrations, in house demonstrations, special iron casting events, Bowl Night workshops, weekend workshops (casting, forging, metal fabrication), art exhibitions, art commissions, Biannual National Conference on Cast Iron Art, and the SMA Summer Youth Apprenticeship. This schedule results in iron pours occurring more than 60 times a season and thousands of scratch blocks being cast.

Job Description Responsibilities:

The Sloss Metal Arts Resident Artists are responsible for sustaining a smooth-running shop, safety conscious work environment, and maintaining a positive creative community. As a member of the foundry crew, it is their responsibility to cooperate and coordinate all tasks related to the Sloss Metal Arts facilities as orchestrated by the Foundry Manager. Resident Arts are responsible for tasks within the foundry as well as attending to Sloss Historic Landmark collaborative responsibilities, as prescribed by the SMA Director. As a Resident Artist, time will be allotted for creative output in proportion to SMA production & education duties, approximately 30hr per week Sloss obligations, 10hrs per week personal art time.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Adhering to all studio safety protocol, technical quality control, creative product development & production, equipment maintenance, and general communications

  • Material consumption, expense tracking, production schedule of commissions

  • Manage production, event, & class scheduling in coordination with SMA Foundry Manager

  • Assist resident, guest, and alumni artists

  • Produce and exhibit personal works of art 

  • Work closely SMA community to ensure a positive and engaging experience for all

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a Sculpture focus.

  • Prior experience in casting metal

  • Knowledge of iron, bronze, and aluminum casting, metal fabrication, sculpture-related topics, trends, processes and skills

  • Strong oral communication, written language and project management abilities

  • Competence in time management

  • Working knowledge of studio operations for Fabrication, Blacksmithing, and Foundry shops.

  • Competence in serving diverse populations and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Understanding positive conflict resolution practices

  • Exemplary computer and internet skills.

  • Positive, can-do attitude and a respectful sense of humor

  • Refined sense of self

Preferred Qualities

  • Artist resident or other workshop experience beyond college

  • Experience operating heavy equipment, lift rigging, large truck operation, & heavy load tie-down

  • Experience as a team leader

  • Ability to be effective independently and as a member of a team

  • High tolerance for ambiguity; willingness to navigate a complex work environment and collaboratively build efficient systems and procedures

  • Exemplary time management skills

  • Passion for innovative sculpture education program building for multi-generational audiences

  • Cupola operation experience

  • Practicing artist

Disclaimer

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

Compensation:

$30,000 fixed salary DOE + 100% employer contribution to medical & dental. Also includes generous inkind benefits in the form of studio space, materials stipend & PTO.

Language & Communication Skills:

Ability to effectively teach and present information to colleagues and student groups. Ability to function in a team setting. Ability to respond to common inquiries from guests.

Technical Skills:

Knowledge of ceramic shell for metal casting in Iron, Bronze and Aluminum. Proficiency in MIG, TIG, ARC and Oxy/Acetylene welding. Knowledge of the operation and maintenance of the equipment in a foundry, a full metal shop and forge. Proficiency in plaster and rubber mold making, wood working and wood carving. Knowledge of iron casting and resin sand molds is a must. Understanding of computer modeling & digital design for preparing files for CNC cutting/machining, and 3D printing.

Management Skills:

Must have time management skills. Ability to comprehend tasks and instructions, verbal & written. Clear acknowledgment there are 1000 ways to “do anything” with consensus built around safest practices. Dedicated to honest and genuine professionalism. Proficient and creative with positive team participation. Humility with knowledge and willingness to learn & grow with other artists. Proficient at creating and maintaining a supportive and creating working culture.

Artistic Responsibilities:

Demonstrated ability to work with other artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic practices. Ability to participate in a culture of inclusion and teamwork. Maintain creative production, project completion, exhibition, and documentation.

Application Requirements:

Please send the following in a single PDF file titled:

 

First Initial.Last Name_RAPosition.pdf example: (J.Johnson_RAPosition.pdf)

Deadline for application is midnight 11/30/21

Please include a cover letter outlining your interest and qualifications, 10 images of personal and/or commissioned work completed, as well as a resume and contact information for three professional references to HR@slossfurnaces.com  Expected start date is 1/10/22.