Artist Jack Howard-Potter dedicates courtyard dance sculpture


Jack Howard-Potter’s “Dancer 11” displayed overlooking Jackson’s Garden. Photo by Joseph Maher.

Mitchell Famulare, Arts Editor

On Saturday, May 18, American artist Jack Howard-Potter ’97 officially gifted his sculpture “Dancer 11” to the Union College Permanent Collection and can be seen exhibited next to the Henle Pavilion for Dance in the Foley Family garden.

The galvanized and powder-coated steel sculpture pictures a red figure holding a dance position, its red steel metal work accentuating the curves of the figure as well as the fluidity of the human form.

Potter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Sculpture from Union College in 1997. Students in current sculpture classes at Union are often exposed to his work during class lectures or field trips to his various installations.

Shortly after college, Potter became heavily interested in steel, making furniture with a blacksmith in Colorado. Potter then took classes at the Art Students League in New York City, paying close attention to human anatomy and figure-drawing. “The Muse” is his largest sculpture to date, standing at 27 feet tall.

His artist statement on his website,, reads, “I try to capture movement in a medium that does not move. Using steel which is an inherently rigid material I work to convey a sense of fluid action in space.”

“My work explores the wide range of movement of the human figure informed through my study of drawing the human anatomy. My sculptures seek to convey the motion of the body in extremely stressful and beautiful positions; the moment that a dancer is at the peak of a jump, the weightless split second before a body succumbs to gravity. I am describing an ephemeral action in steel to convey this moment for eternity.”

“I want the viewer to visualize the actions that led up to a given pose and the actions that will follow it. Using the brightly colored surfaces separates the figures from the landscape, making them stand out in much the same way people do when they wear clothes.”

“The brilliant colors serve as protection for the steel from the corrosive outdoor environment as well as adding excitement to the steel to aid in the sense of movement. The work explores the range of possibilities and flexibility of the material as well as the subject matter.”

“The display of my work in the outdoor public arena is the perfect place for the inherent academic roots to be brought to every person in an easily recognizable and accessible way, bridging the gap between the intimidating gallery or fine art institution and the general public.”

Potter’s website holds a gallery of his past sculptures and information on new and old exhibitions.