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Five people standing around a bucket of molten iron.

Protective gear is the norm at the U's annual iron pour. Students and visiting artists work with molten iron that's more than 2,500 degrees Farenheit.

37 and still on fire

Department of Art hosts 37th Annual Iron Pour

By Pauline Oo

April 14, 2006

Last year, about 2,400 pounds of donated radiator iron was broken down and 300 pounds of it were fed every 20 minutes into two steel furnaces. The end result, after four hours of sauna-like conditions, were hundreds of happy faces and more than 100 iron cast sculptures for class and independent study or research.

This year, the annual University of Minnesota Iron Pour will once again see teams of artists and students of cast metal sculpture clad in a hodgepodge of protective helmets and leather working with 2,500-degree-Farenheit molten iron and dancing flames. The free public event will take place on Wednesday, April 19, from 1 pm to 6 p.m. in the Foundry at the Regis Center Art on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. "Cope and Drag," a type of two-piece mold used in cast metal sculpture, is the theme of this year's 37th Annual Iron Pour.

"[The 2005 Iron Pour] went pretty good," says Wayne Potratz, University sculpture professor following the event last year. "Everybody's sculpture got poured, we had a lot of visiting artists from out of town, and it was over a little faster than usual because we were producing more metal per hour with two machines." Potratz, who has organized the U's Iron Pour over the years, is currently on sabbatical and adjunct faculty member Paul Linden is the 2006 event planner.

Linden has invited a number of guest artists to participate this year, including Eric Nordgulen and Greg Hull from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana; Jim Swartz, Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minnesota; Melanie Van Houten, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota; Tom Christiansen, Last Chance Fabricating, Lutsen, Minnesota; John Poole, artist-in-residence of Smith Foundry, Minneapolis; and Chris Poor, Arms and Armor, Minneapolis.

Students working with molten iron
Molten metal is poured into individual molds to create iron sculptures for class assignments or research projects.

Commemorative T-shirts will be sold at the event to benefit the U's Department of Art Scholarship Fund.

The art department, the U's College of Liberal Arts, American Iron, the Badger Foundry Company, and the Smith Foundry Company are sponsors of the 37th Annual Iron Pour.

To learn more about the annual event, read Marriage of iron and fire.