Sometimes the worlds of art and technology seem far apart, but as students in Portico Bowman’s sculpture class at Pittsburg State University worked in the Kansas Technology Center concrete testing lab last spring, it became clear how closely the two are related.

The collaborative project began with two professors.

For some time, Dennis Audo, a member of the faculty in the Department of Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technologies, had thought that there should be something to do with the excess concrete his students generated in the concrete testing lab.

Portico Bowman, a member of the faculty in the Art Department, meanwhile was preparing her syllabus for the spring semester. For a decade she has had her students work in the KTC’s metal casting program, but she was also intrigued by the possibilities concrete might offer art students.

When the two talked, a new art experience for students blossomed.

“We do a lot of concrete testing and many times just throw it out,” Audo said. “I asked her (Bowman) if there was any way her class could use it and she told me about the forms they make, so we decided to collaborate. It’s been a very good thing.”

Bowman said the assignment she created for the students is a “totem trophy” that incorporates concrete, ceramics and metal.