Sloss Furnaces operates one of the largest iron arts programs in the World, dedicated to iron and bronze casting as an art form which honors the industry upon which Birmingham was built. We support the creation of original art, production of individual and corporate commissioned art, casting of art sold through our gift shop, and conduct classes and workshops throughout the year. As dramatic as the pictures on this page are, join us for an iron pour to experience how extraordinary the process is in person!
Groups up to 250 people can try their hand at designing their own cast iron tile which will be poured from a coke-fired furnace operating at about 2,800 degrees.
Nothing feels quite like holding cast iron in your hand. Vegetables cast from real life are just a few of the items sold in our gift shop and online, made right here at Sloss.
A sculpture garden was created at Sloss in 2023. Artists apply for a chance to display their work here. Smaller pieces can be found throughout our site as well.
The programs at Sloss are funded by product sales, local and national grants, class and event fees, individual and corporate commissioned art... and you!
The Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program is the cornerstone of our Metal Arts program. It was founded on the importance of passing on the history of Sloss and the techniques and traditions of metal art through hands-on learning and observation. This 8-week paid program employs local high school students, with an emphasis on recruiting from underserved communities. Students work and study under the supervision of professional artists. Students integrate ideas about form, design, and materials into a series of projects that teach the apprentices a variety of processes including casting iron, blacksmithing, welding, mold-making, hand sculpting, basic steel fabrication, and finishing. The summer ends with a juried exhibition by the students.
Our Metal Arts program is only possible because this amazing team of talented Resident Artists. They are selected through a application process and become paid full-time members of the Metal Arts team for either a one- or three-year term. During that time, they lead school and corporate tours, create items for our Gift Shop, teach classes, travel to art festivals, and dedicate at least one day each week to their craft. Each brings unique skills and experiences, while learning from other Resident and Visiting Artists. Sloss also helps them develop their careers and make connections with galleries and metal arts organizations locally, regionally and nationally. In 2023, we were excited to see two members of team being chosen to lead college programs in Georgia and New Jersey.
The Metal Arts program at Sloss Furnaces offers several exciting options for our corporate partners. We have a number of opportunities for retreats and team building projects that provide a genuinely interesting way for people to work and learn together. Sloss can create unique gifts and recognition pieces that are cast by hand - possibly with your company logo. Sloss has also created a number of commissioned works of art that include trophies, client gifts, and large scale interior and exterior pieces. Nothing makes an impact on your team or your clients like cast iron!
Sloss Furnaces is hosts two six-week Visiting Artist Residencies each year, inviting experienced metal artist from all over the world! This program is designed for emerging and mid-career artists interested in developing their studio practice, working with our Resident Artists, and honing technical skills. Visiting Artists are provided with a furnished apartment, all casting materials, and full access to our facilities and equipment which are located in Casting Shed #2 near the Visitors Center at Sloss Furnaces. Our Visiting Artist Residency take place each Spring and Fall.