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Originally published August 19, 2011 by CjCB on, the AANYAA is delighted to re-publish this spotlight (with image additions) on the AANYAA's website. Here, Joan Benefiel & Jeremy Leichman, MFA 2007.

What are you currently working on?

(Joan:) Jeremy Leichman and I met at the Academy and are both sculptors. We have our own sculpture studio business together, Figuration LLC.

We're currently working on finishing up the bronze castings of a pair of our life-size bronze sculptures of St. Ignatius to be installed in October, commissioned by Fairfield University.

What was your most recent big thing?

We have a beautiful installation - the Fashion District Pilings Project - still on view through August 29th on Broadway between 36th-41st Streets on the pedestrian plazas of the NYC Fashion District. Our sculptures were even in The Wall Street Journal's Photos of the Week: July 11-15 (photo 9/20)!

What do you find challenging about your work?

It seems like there is no clear path to making a career out of this sculpture thing. You have to make it part of your practice to always be looking for the next job if you really want to make a living out of doing what you love and not be distracted by other things.

And we've decided that this is the most important thing and the only way to truly do it full time, all the time.

What’s on the horizon for you?

I've been developing the river version of the installation in the Fashion District - the Hudson River Pilings Project - since 2009. The installation at Pier 42 in the Hudson River Park will be made of much larger scale versions of our sculptures on Broadway. Jeremy and I are also looking to expand our studio to a larger space soon, so that's very exciting!


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