Tanks, dreamcatchers and lighthouses are just some of the metal sculptures that were created by welding students at NTC Kansas over the last two months. The sculptures are intended entries in the American Welding Society (AWS) of Tulsa’s first Welded Art Contest – a fundraiser that provides scholarships to local students.
During the past few years, AWS – Tulsa has given away $5,000 in local scholarships and awards, but as the chairman of the Tulsa section, Travis Weber’s goal this year is to double that amount.
“We need to be creative with our fundraising efforts,” said Weber. “Our annual Shoot for Scholarships and Scholarship Golf Tournament really help, but I see this art contest as an added effort to increase fundraising – giving us more funds we can turn around and give back to students in need.”
The contest is open to students at local welding schools, and each class is allowed to submit one project that will be judged on welding, fabrication, creativity, overall design and size requirements. All projects turned in will be auctioned off at the AWS – Tulsa Annual Awards Banquet in February, but not before they are judged by the Tulsa Section board members.
“The winning project will earn that class $500 to purchase any materials necessary for their shop/classroom,” said Weber. “I see this as an excellent opportunity to help build community, improve students learning experience with creativity, and to help raise money for the classroom.”
And the chance to add $500 to his program is just one of the reasons NTC Kansas Welding Instructor Josh Alley decided to participate in the contest.
“I got a call from Travis about having some of my guys participate in the event, and it fits great with what we do on a daily basis” said Alley. “A lot of my students wanted to participate, so I decided to let them work in teams to create sculptures with the understanding that only the best one would be chosen for the auction.”
Two months later, Alley has several sculptures to consider as the final contest entry. Vincent Englebright and Isaac Collins, both of Locust Grove, designed and built a model tank for their sculpture entry.
“This was the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking about what to build,” said Collins. “I really like my high school history class with Mr. White, so I guess that’s what inspired me. He tells great stories.”
Collins also worked with two other classmates, Seth Gibbs of Jay and Josiah Beachy of Kansas, to design and build a sculpture the trio is calling “End of the Trail Dreamcatcher.” The intricate design features a warrior seated on a horse surrounded by eagle feather accents.
“I was playing with the cold roll and made a hoop, and the design started evolving from there,” said Gibbs. “I’m also Cherokee, so the design is part of my heritage too.”
The final sculpture is by far the largest weighing in at more than sixty pounds. Called the “Lighthouse,” Andrew Rogers of Jay said the idea for his team’s design also comes from family heritage.
“Our first idea didn’t work when we actually started welding, so this was our second plan,” Rogers said. “My dad is a preacher at The Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Cherokee City, and this idea came from that.”
In addition to the lighthouse that gives the sculpture its name, the piece also features a detailed shoreline complete with a boat, dock and river running into the ocean. Pablo Tagg and Chris Wolf, also of Jay, contributed to the “Lighthouse” sculpture, as did Jacob Dupuy from Gentry, Ark.
Each class is allowed to submit only one project, so Alley and his students must choose a final entry from among the three sculptures that have been created. That sculpture will be included in the AWS – Tulsa auction in mid-February.