top of page

Teaching the Next Generation: The Soulsville Metals Collaborative

About the Program

The Soulsville Metals Collaborative (SMC) is a partnership between Knowledge Quest and the Metal Museum for high school students. Knowledge Quest is a community organization that was founded in 1993 to serve youths who live in the 38106 and 38126 area codes. We meet with these students at Gaston Community Center, where they learn basic metalworking skills and business techniques. All students have an initial training period where they learn the core techniques that will be used throughout the program. Once they learn those skills and complete the proficiency test piece, they are then eligible to begin earning an hourly wage and can begin making their own original pieces to be sold during the Sale + Showcase. In addition to designing and making pieces, they also learn how to price and package their items to be sold. All proceeds from the Sale + Showcase go back into the program to help purchase materials and to pay the students an hourly wage for their work!

Students smile and hold up their certificates they received for their work in the program.
Students show off their certificates of achievement during the 2019 SMC Showcase.

SMC is completing its fifth year of programming and this semester we had a roster of nine students. Four of them were brand new to the program! Of the five students returning, two are in the second year, and three are in their fourth year (two of whom will be graduating this spring). Over the first few weeks these new students made leaps and bounds in their skills evaluations and began to create their own work. Returning students continued work from the previous semester while being encouraged to create a cohesive body of work for their next showcase.

Each week, the newer students were introduced to a new metalworking technique, including sawing, filing, drilling, texturing, and enameling. This is where they learned the basics and linked these processes together to create their own original pieces. This initial training period is also where students discover which techniques they enjoy the most. Some students love enameling because of its painterly, colorful effects while others flourish making antiqued copper pendants from interesting shapes. Their enthusiasm and affinity for new skills is always a treat. Tyshun, a first year student, made sawing through copper look easy and learned how to rivet more quickly than some college students I know.

A students holds up a sheet of copper and a shape he cut out of the metal sheet.
Tyshun shows off his first completed piercing sample.

Another student, Joshua, started in the middle of Fall 2019. Since then he has shown significant improvement and now creates work independently. In the beginning, Joshua needed constant supervision; he would make mistakes and get very frustrated with himself. Over the course of this semester Joshua learned how to pace himself and found that he excels at enameling. Because Joshua slowed down and stopped overthinking his process, he was able to create some of the most beautiful enameled work in the class. While it used to take Joshua two weeks to finish a piece, now he can create three finished pieces per day.

Our returning students have explored more advanced techniques this year. Cahlia has been creating wearable pieces while Tessa has been experimenting with watercolor enamels on dishes and utilitarian objects. Lawrence has created several riveted layered pendants and the twins Madison and Mardisty have been creating intricately pierced works.

In February, the SMC students were invited to the Museum to tour the grounds and view work by Master Metalsmith Sarah Perkins. They explored the galleries, watched demonstrations in the Smithy and Foundry, and created work by casting pewter. It was a great opportunity for them to see how artists in the Museum Store and galleries use the same techniques that they learn during the program.

Ariana smiles as a student asks a question during a tour.
Ariana discusses Master Metalsmith: Sarah Perkins with Tyshun, Tia, and Tessa.

Though our time with them this semester was brief, they have improved by leaps and bounds. Their dedication and enthusiasm for making never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to seeing them again and watching them grow as metalsmiths throughout the program!


The Metal Museum receives support for the SMC from FedEx and the Tennessee Arts Commission, as well as general programming support from ArtsMemphis, the Hyde Family Foundation, and the Windgate Foundation.


If you enjoyed reading this blog post, please consider supporting the Metal Museum now with a tax-deductible donation or by joining as a member.

162 views6 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Anna Myagkaya
Anna Myagkaya
7 days ago

The article "Does Homework Still Have Value? Education Expert Weighs In" on Deep dive presents a thought-provoking exploration of the ongoing debate surrounding the efficacy of homework in education. By featuring insights from an education expert, this piece delves into the potential benefits and drawbacks of assigning homework to students. The expert's analysis offers a nuanced perspective on the role of homework in reinforcing learning, fostering independent study habits, and promoting academic success. Through examining the evolving landscape of education and the changing needs of students, this article prompts readers to reconsider the traditional notions of homework and its relevance in today's educational context.


The Soulsville Metals Collaborative (SMC), a partnership between Knowledge Quest and the Metal Museum, provides high school students with valuable opportunities. For additional support and resources, interested parties can explore organizations like those listed in this compilation of logistics software development companies: [Logistics Software Development Companies Knowledge Quest, a community organization established in 1993 to support youths in the 38106 and 38126 area codes, collaborates with the Metal Museum to conduct sessions at Gaston Community Center.


It's nice to read such material and realize that there are still high-quality and extremely qualified teachers. It's very cool to know that there are still high-quality and extremely qualified teachers who want to give knowledge to students. I remember how lucky I was to have a teacher who even helped me submit a research proposal online, which was a real achievement for me at the time. After that, I had an even greater desire to study and, in general, more respect for the teacher. So I really hope that you will continue to develop your students in the same direction.


You do everything so cool, it deserves respect, we need to teach the younger generation the right things. But in general, teaching is a rather complicated process, so I hope you are doing everything right. Studying was so difficult in my time that only thanks to, I was able to get quality papers and, consequently, high grades. Thus, I want to say that studying is quite a difficult process. But if the teacher makes this process interesting, then students will be interested in learning new material, and this will lead to better grades. So I hope that you always prepare high-quality material.


Wow, very cool article, I like it when they talk about education in such an unusual way. It's always cool when a teacher is interested in doing their job well. I can say that I wasn't very lucky with this when I was in college, so I had to buy nursing essays online, which gave me the opportunity to improve my grades. And in general, if you recall the years of study, there were only exceptions to the general rules in relation to students, everyone else did not care. That's why I admire the new generation so much now, because they have so many more opportunities to learn.

bottom of page