STEAM exhibit draws big crowds in its fifth year at Artisphere
GREENVILLE — Clemson University returned to Artisphere with its STEAM exhibit for a fifth year, bringing new activities that include a color-changing tutu, shape-shifting materials and art inspired by a student engineering project in Haiti.
The STEAM exhibit May 11-13 featured nine activities merging science, technology, engineering, art and math. It is one of Artisphere’s largest attractions and draws thousands of visitors each year.
Visitors of all ages were welcome, and no skills in math and science were necessary. Clemson’s students, faculty and staff guided visitors through the hands-on activities.
The activities were designed to be fun but also introduce students to highly sought skills in the workplace, ranging from cooperation and creativity to computer coding and programming robots.
Kerry Murphy, Artisphere’s executive director, said Clemson’s STEAM exhibit has been a perennial hit at the award-winning arts festival, which wrapped up its 14th year .
“Clemson brings an innovative and unique slate of activities to Artisphere each year,” she said. “Our patrons enjoy the STEAM exhibit and that’s reflected by the size of the crowds it attracts. The hands-on activities are great for parents and kids to do together. There’s something for all ages.”
You can view a gallery of photos from this year’s event here.
Here were some of this year’s activities:
Tutu Fast Tutu Furious
Sometimes, art informs science. A ballerina’s artfully fluid movements, with her plies and fouettés that tell of sorrows and joys, draw our gaze. What holds our attention is the recognition of the strain she is putting on her body, seeing the biomechanics of each turn, marveling how she seems to fall just short of defying the laws of physics, perhaps even bending them to her will. We have created a novel fiber optic ballerina’s tutu of our own design, which changes color in response to selected outside stimulus. As the ballerina’s spins increase and decrease in speed, the color changes.
The Transformers: Shape Shifting Materials and Structures
This exhibit features shape-shifting and jump contests, magic metal and collaborative creation. It will showcase how origami – the ancient paper-folding art – can inspire engineered structures and materials. Meanwhile, there will be shape memory alloys, which will be manipulated into different shapes by participants, then returned to their original shapes by dropping them into regular, warm water.
Pi Bon Lavi: Better Life
See the ways that science can make the world more beautiful. In this exhibit, you can see the work that the organization Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries has accomplished in Haiti through a wide display of art. See paintings and drawings of current engineering projects, as well as live-performance speed painting.
Experiment with the surprise effects of colored light in this mobile, air-conditioned darkroom. Learn how theatrical lighting designers make informed decisions when picking colored filters for lights on the stage. Visitors can see and play with the effects of colored light on theatre scenery and costumes, and play a challenging guessing game for a sweet prize
The Art of Movement
Discover the dazzling visual delights of variable motion with these kinetic sculptures. This showcase displays sculptures that utilize wind power, gravity, motors and strobe lights to provide crazy visual effects. Come see the Iron Man, Chaotic Double Pendulum and Newton’s Cradle.
Coding for the Carillon: Automating Clemson’s Bell Tower
Ring the bells of Clemson. Watch live video and audio feed from the top of Clemson’s iconic bell tower as songs play automatically through a system implemented by a team of Clemson students in a Creative Inquiry project. Visitors can interact with the bells in real time through a virtual display and keyboard.
Science as Art 2018
Science as Art has challenged Clemson University students, faculty and staff, as well as pre-college students around the state, to share the powerful and inspiring visual images produced in our laboratories, workspaces and learning environments. This exhibit aims to excite and educate with science, technology, engineering and mathematics through visually captivating images that are described in basic terms.
HOOKEd on Microscopy: Exploring the Magnificent Microcosm
If you have ever wondered what a butterfly’s mouth or a starfish look like under a microscope, you will not want to miss “The Magnificent Microcosm,” sponsored by the Clemson Light Imaging Facility. You will have the chance to look at samples under a microscope, see images from our “HOOKEd on Microscopy” contest, and build your own hologram projector to use at home.
Drawing With Robots: R2D2 Meets Rembrandt
This automated attraction is an interactive activity that introduces children and young adults to computer programing through art. Visitors write the code for the shape they wish to create and download it to a small Scribbler robot that then “draws” their picture. This is a wonderful activity that shows robots can make art, too.
More about the exhibit:
The STEAM Exhibit is a collaboration of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
Clemson also had Visual Arts tent adjacent to the STEAM exhibit, where students demonstrated several studio areas such as ceramics, mixed media, drawing and painting . Participants had an opportunity to learn about many techniques, tools and materials used to create art. The demonstrations in ceramics showed observers how an artist uses clay to create functional art as well as sculptural pieces, using a variety of techniques, including the potter’s wheel.
The chief organizers of the STEAM exhibit were Brad Putman, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, and Shannon Robert, associate professor of scene design in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, said the STEAM exhibit was aimed at helping fire visitors’ imaginations.
“The hands-on activities help show there is room for them at the table, even if they don’t feel strong in math and science,” he said. “Art helps make those skills less intimidating and more interesting to people who might otherwise shy away.”
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said many of the new jobs in the state require skills that the STEAM exhibit promotes.
“Artisphere is a festival, so the exhibit is designed to be fun, but it also has a very practical component,” he said. “The skills embedded in the activities are highly sought in the 21st-century job market. That is particularly true in South Carolina, as the state’s advanced manufacturing industry grows. We are glad to be back and are pleased we had another successful year.”