Arts Program Building its Reputation One Brick at a Time with new Kiln

Published date: 
Dec 5, 2013

After several years of careful planning a custom made kiln weighing in at 4500 lbs. made its way from New York to Maricopa County.

The kiln, which measures 6’x6’x6’ inside and is one of the largest in the Maricopa Community College system, will serve students enrolled in ART151 (Sculpture I) and ART152  (Sculpture II) as well as the Ceramics classes (ART161 and ART162). Efforts will also be made reach out to artists throughout the community.  

Kiln Arrives at GateWay

Mills Inspects the Kiln

Susan Mills

Susan Mills

“It is hard to believe that this is the same program that I encountered eight years ago, said Susan Mills, Art Coordinator and Instructor. “We started with a few drawing courses; now we offer sculpture, ceramics and design.  The addition of the kiln allows us to cast in sand and metal enabling us to create more sophisticated pieces of sculpture.  This puts us in a position to offer an Associates of Fine Arts degree here at GateWay within the next few years.”

The capacity of the kiln will also appeal to local artists and artisans. It is Mills’ hope that the addition of the kiln to the already impressive equipment of a metal melting furnace and forge will lead to a larger sense of community.  The goal is to set up a casting institute to facilitate a collaborative environment for local artists, visiting artists and the students.

In a time where art programs are disappearing, GateWay’s art program is growing by leaps and bounds.

“We serve a diverse population,” said Mills. “Many of our students are considered ‘at risk’ the Arts give them an opportunity to find themselves, express their feelings in healthy and productive ways. Through creating art they gain confidence, and are introduced to view life in a different way than they may be used to-this opens up a world of possibilities that they may not have seen before.”

“This is really a dream come true for the arts, for GateWay and for this area. It really meets a need. The arts program is going to continue to expand, through both the support of the college and the community-It is really a wonderful place to be. “

The art room housed in the IE Building provides 1,900 square feet of indoor space for painting, drawing, and ceramics. The facility has pull-down screens for privacy and is also equipped with pneumatics as well as a roll-up door, which leads to an outside art venue. Outside there is also a 1900 square foot space, along with a furnace for melting metal, welding equipment and two large cranes.

Those interested in learning more about the arts program and art classes at GateWay can visit: