Summer Apprenticeship Program Introduces College Students
To Art Of Stone Sculpting
July 22, 2005
By ASHLEY L. BATTLE, Courant Staff Writer
Adriano Vazquez pounds the block of granite with an object
that looks like a small hammer - his mouth and nose covered
with a mask to protect him from the bits of rock that fly
out with each bang. Before long, the rock will be transformed
into a bench.
Vazquez is a member of a stone sculpting studio that is part
of the Greater Hartford Arts Council's Neighborhood Studios program.
The six-week program selects area young people to participate
in a paid-apprenticeship program and exposes them to jobs in
the arts. This year, 120 are participating.
"They are required to dress accordingly, clock in and clock
out," said Rie Poirier-Campbell, marketing director for
the arts council. If they are not acting appropriately, they
can be disciplined or fired, just like at a real job, Poirier-Campbell
The three-week stone sculpting studio ends today.
Vazquez, who lives in Hartford and attends the Pratt Institute
in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been spending Monday through Friday working
with the large piece of granite. Once completed, the bench will
be placed along the banks of the Connecticut River.
Vazquez, 20, has been participating in the program for the past
three years. This summer, he is also participating in the mural
Vazquez said he enjoys the
program. "It looks good on my
resume and I'm looking forward to learning how to work with stone," he
said last week.
In addition to the stone sculpting studio, which is sponsored
by Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, seven other studios immerse
students in arts such as ceramics, dancing, crafts and jewelry,
music, textiles and theater. Each studio has its own corporate
The stone sculpting studio has the smallest number of apprentices,
with three. The members of the studio - Vazquez, Richard Combs,
18, and Evan Sable, 21, both of Torrington - are all college
students. The rest of the students in the studios program are
high school age.
Poirier-Campbell said the studio is smaller than the others
because stone sculpting requires strength as well as size.
"A 14-year-old couldn't do this," she
said, motioning toward the workers who were dressed in protective
clothing and masks while pounding away at the rock.
Darrell Petit, of Branford, serves as the master teaching artist
for the apprentices. To gain a better understanding of their
materials, Petit and the apprentices visited Stone Creek Quarry
"They're thinking while they work. Experience is the way
they learn," Petit said.
In addition to their apprenticeships, the students in the Neighborhood
Studios program are required to attend weekly marketing classes
where they learn how to market themselves and form their resumes.
The program, which draws students
from the city and the suburbs, is sponsored by Travelers Life & Annuity.
Other sponsors include the state Commission of Culture and
Tourism, Capital Workforce Partners, the Capitol Region Education
Council, the Connecticut Department of Education and the city
The remaining studios run until Aug. 3. That day, a showcase
featuring the work of the studios will be held at Riverfront
Plaza at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, and the rain
date is Aug. 4.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at