"Art on Fire"
Iron Pour Art Fest
June 2008

The Valley Arts Alliance arranged for a team of sculptors and commercial foundrymen to set up a small version of a traditional coke fueled cupola furnace on the grounds of the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, on Saturday, June 28, 2008.  The team demonstrated the process of an “iron pour” as they created unique, commemorative cast iron sculptures.   

This project first got started following a chance meeting of sculptor Pat Garley, who owns Arctic Fires Bronze in Palmer, Alaska, and Donnie Keen of Keen Foundry in Houston, Texas, who were both participating in an academic iron pour event at New Mexico Highlands University. Eventually other sculptors working in cast iron joined the team. 

The team's original objective was to conduct an iron pour at the Arctic Circle on the Summer Solstice, a truly appropriate day for such an event. This was accomplished and it demonstrated that any competent person can build and operate an iron casting facility, anywhere. On their return from the Arctic Circle in 2008, the team set up in Wasilla on the grounds of the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, and thus was born the annual Valley Arts Alliance event "Art on Fire" Iron Pour Art Fest.

On the day of the iron pour, the Valley Arts Alliance arranged demonstrations of black smithing, pottery making, and Raku fired clay.  In addition, an art show was held in the newly restored barn at the Museum of Transportation and Industry.  Paintings, prints, and photographs adhering to the theme “Barn & Beyond” were displayed.  And throughout the day, live music was provided.

The day was an extraordinary Iron Pour Art Fest in the Valley!