Tacoma’s industrial past hails from paper, not steel, yet metals continue to make up a significant portion of the art scene today. For instance, Tacoma now has more than 200 permanent installations of outdoor public art, including murals, statues, sculptures and other works, most of which are located in the downtown Broadway and Commerce Street corridor. Many of these were sculpted and cast by a small-but-mighty metal-working community in and around the city.
In addition to the studio at Tacoma Community College, there’s Two Ravens Studio, managed by sculptor and master mold maker Ed Kroupa with business partner and artist Katrina Toft. Tours of Two Ravens’ Commerce Street location are available by appointment, where visitors can watch the process of statue-making, from clay model to silicone mold to ceramic shell investment to the final pour of molten bronze or aluminum.
Metalwork on a much smaller scale is being done at the Tacoma Metal Arts Center, where artist Amy Reeves and 15 other Northwest jewelry makers create fine metal jewelry and teach others their craft. Reeves and her fellow artist-turned-instructors hold as many as 50 classes on subjects such as electroforming, soldering, etching and enameling with pewter, silver, gold, copper and bronze on the weekends and evenings throughout the year.