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Metal Sculpting and the Business of Art
    Bill J. Priest Institute, El Centro College

Certification program -  A program which addresses the foundations of welding, logistics of installation, the business of art proposals, art management and production.  This curriculum,

Welding Art Certification
Bill J. Priest Institute, DCCCD

What:  Sculpture Metal Art Certification
Purpose:  Create a comprehensive certification for artists who participate in public art projects.
Mission:  To create a certification program which serves area municipalities who have active art programs and regularly employ artists to place public art. 
In Dallas, this would be part of the pre-selection list of area artists for consideration of Dallas art projects.  Such a program ensures cities, contractors and developers are getting artists which are “vetted,” and a confidence that the artists selected will understand the precautions of placing art in public, the dynamics of creating large-scale works, and the logistics of installing art.
Most artists are self-taught and figure out the details as they go, this course would establish subject matter which served the city’s interest and insure the artists selected are qualified to create and install works of art that is best for the public.  This program would be tailored to candidates who are interested in creating public works of art under $150 K.  The DCCCD program will address welding, welding integrity, installation issues, including the general issues a professional artist must consider.
The issue:  Many artists who are selected to exhibit public art are not formally trained to engineer the best work of art, or practiced at considering the best installation.  This cannot be remedied by spot checks or distant supervision of a disassociated engineer.  The consideration for a public work of art must begin in the conception process and carry through the last installation details.  The artist must even consider the maintenance of the piece fifty years into the future.  Safety, weather considerations and community impact details must all be carefully addressed.  Artists are rarely prepared to consider all stakeholders and issues involved with a public project.  This certification program will prepare the artist for the nuances involved in creating public art.

 Areas addressed in the certification:
Technical subjects  (Following AWS – American Welding Society standards)

  • Technical welding
  • Structural engineering
  • Fabrication options
  • Tools and equipment  (Special emphasis on safe use and operations)

Art project management

  • Structural integrity of the work.  What is necessary to support large structures?
  • Finishes.  Weather durability of work, including water erosion, drainage and designing structures to withstand wind stress.  Included is a discussion around appropriate finishes to withstand weather and last in the direct sunlight.
  • The difference between playground equipment and fine art.  For public art, there’s not much difference.  We would fully explore this and create much attention to creating safe art including facades, edges and points of the work.
  • Installation!  The appropriate pad, base and supports. 
  • Foundation work and appropriate bases.  Designing work considering permanent placement and understanding structural anchors which are acceptable for large scale work.  (This would include engaging the engineers available through the program.)
  • Understanding large-scale work.  How to design for outdoors, compared to art placed in galleries.  You must consider scale, color and proportions to successfully fill an outdoor space.
  • Project management.  Understanding what is necessary to create, produce and install large-scale work.  Including: Pricing, sourcing, and fabrication.
  • Proposals:  What do municipalities need when presenting concepts?  What is a maquette and how do you create a prototype to address foreseeable issues which any city will want addressed?
  • Creative Collaboration:  Working with cities, engineers, architects and communities.
  • Documenting the process:  What and when do you capture the work for the client and to promote your work.  Building an impressive resume.
  • Insurance:  The responsibility of the artist before and after installation, including durability and maintenance.
  • Community considerations.  This requires the artist to consider the audience, the people who live in the community and the ideal work of art to best serve all stakeholders.

Benefits of this course

  • A certified standard and level of qualification for any business or municipality collaborating with an artist in the art creation process.
  • A course which provides a general survey for the variety of aspects involved with the installation of public art.
  • Introduction to the many facets of creating large-scale, safe, public art
  • Develop a pool of vetted artists who are formally educated in the subjects of managing an art project, producing large-scale work and installing public art.
  • Real-time consultation with the DCCCD staff for specific art related issues.

Course Details
:  cost  $640
Total 64 hours – 12 week course:  (workbook included)
-  32 hrs.  technical                          (Conducted on two consecutive Thursday/Fridays from 8-5 pm.)
-  32 hrs.  Project art management             (12 week course,  1 – 5 pm, every Saturday.)

hours will combine lecture, tests and hands-on training.  Artists will be awarded certification based on knowledge and proficiency using three different type welders.
Project art management will discuss the various elements of conceptualizing, producing and installing public art.  The final project will be the creation of a proposal which best represents the art, the artist and their process.

The course consists of book work, required reading, hands-on training and a final test to demonstrate general knowledge.  A take-away for the course includes a formal proposal ready to submit to participating municipalities.
All students will be introduced to standard welding practices and given hands-on training with a variety of welding machines, utilizing different techniques.  Each participant will be given an option to pass the welding aptitude test or be certified as recognizing welding standards as established by AWS.  The two options consider the artists who utilizes fabrication shops to produce their work, or the artists who creates their own work.

Why DCCCD?  (Bill J. Priest Institute)

  • Experienced and diverse faculty of experts
  • State of the art facility, extensive equipment
  • Proven industrial welding program

Byron Zarrabi holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Texas at Dallas and an associate’s degree in welding.
He has worked as a combination welder and team leader for Fluor Daniel Construction in Dallas, in power plants in the DFW area and in the marine industry building large aluminum vessels in Seattle. He began teaching in Mountain View College’s Welding Technology program as an adjunct instructor in 2002 and in the Fall of 2008 became the Welding program coordinator and a full-time faculty member at El Centro’s Bill J. Priest Campus, where he developed the Industrial Arts and Technologies program for the continuing education at DCCCD.

Pooya Koohbanani earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Technical University of Kerman in his native Iran, as well as a master’s degree in civil and structural engineering from Southern Methodist University.  He holds certification as an accredited professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council.
He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Green Building Council and the northeast chapter of the American Concrete Institute, for which he served as a board member in 2005 and 2006. He teaches Blueprint Reading for Welders.

James Bauer serves as a welding instructor for Bill J. Priest currently and has taught welding for over 18 years with DCCCD.  He earned his associate’s degree in Welding Technology from Mountain View College, and soon after became an instructor there.
He has experience in welding, quality control and various related fields, including AWS D17.1 code welding for NASA Johnson Space Center on project Morpheus, propulsions systems for the Rocket Racing League, and served as technical specialist and welding fabricator for Armadillo Aerospace Company.

Chris Wood, is a welding instructor at Bill J. Priest, and has been in the welding trade for 14 years. Chris began his welding career as a student attending courses in the Welding Technology program at Mountain View College, part of DCCCD, where he earned his associate’s degree in Applied Science.  Chris has served as a member of the Bill J. Priest training faculty since the welding program opened in fall 2008.  Included in his professional resume:

  • Authorized OSHA Instructor
  • CNC Plasma Instructor
  • Former welding business owner, C. W. Welding
  • Collaborative install Texas Discovery Gardens
  • 2014-2015 Excellence in Teaching for Adjunct
    Faculty District Award, El Centro College


Scott Trent, Ph.D., is a metal sculptor, academic, community activist, consultant and founder/director of the Henderson Art Project.  He received his graduate degree in Emerging Media and Communication from the school of Arts and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas.

He has been a practicing artist since 2000, metal sculptor with work in permanent collection at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, City of Frisco, Jewish Community Center, The Gallery at Oldfield Davis, Newman Village and many private collections.  He served as the first artist in residence for the city of Frisco for three years.

As a business consultant, Trent has worked with fortune 100 companies in areas of communication, innovation and leadership.  Recently he has worked with the city of Frisco and the Hometown Community in North Richland Hills selecting and placing public art.

“When it comes to public art, no one has done more in recent years than Scott Trent,
the force behind the Henderson Art Project.”

Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News, April 10, 2011

Scott Trent   .   214-202-7325   .    scott@inxlab.com

Facilitating the dialog with stakeholders involved in the creation of public art


-  Technical considerations – base, lighting, materials
-  Aesthetics – color, texture, finish
-  Conceptual – theme
-  Narrative around art
-  Experience of the artist – new concept, part of a series, original work
-  Unique elements to the space
-  Scale considerations
-  Artist’s brand
-  Potential logistical issues
-  Production needs
-  Timeframe – future conflicts
-  Ability to deliver
-  Fabricator?  Self-produced
-  Projected durability – type of maintenance
-  Relationship with the community
-  Insurance – artist’s responsibility
-  What aspects of concept left to heuristic design
-  What steps are taken to consider outside elements, i.e., rain, sun and wind
-  Cash flow issues – where are most cost outlays, are delays considered
-  Description of art