Combining art and science is a great way to engage those children and teens that are not interested in STEM. It also helps those who like STEM to explore different ways that STEM can be influential in other fields.
Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate science into your art programming:
Art — Pointillism is a technique that arose in France in the 1880’s, and is considered a form of Neo-Impressionism. Pointillism requires the artist to use small dots of primary color to create the impression of secondary and intermediate colors. Key artists from this time period included Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Henri-Edmond Cross.
Science –By utilizing only primary colors, and by placing them closely to one another, the brain perceives the colors as the secondary color created by two dots next to each other. This allows you to see different colors in the paintings, even though the artists are just using three colors – red, blue, and yellow.
Possible activities –
1. Have the participants work together to create a large-scale pointillism piece.
- Using butcher paper, sketch out designs.
- Each table is randomly assigned a design, and is given a set of dot markers in different colors.
- The table has to work together to finish the design.
- Display in the library
2. Have the participants create their own pointillism piece
- Have half-sheets of paper available with designs or blank, and markers.
- Participants complete their own pointillism piece. Half-sheets will give them a chance to finish their work during the program.
Resources to Considers –
- Get to the Point: Georges Seurat and Pointillism – Part 1 : This 4-part YouTube series will give you, and your participants, the artistic and scientific background for Pointillism. Each part is short, but you could pick out specific segments to show at the program.
- MOMA Art Terms – Pointillism : This site will give you a definition of Pointillism, and will link to related works.
Art – A kinetic sculpture is usually a three-dimensional sculpture that moves, either naturally or with a machine. Key artists include Naum Gabo, Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Calder.
Science – Kinetic sculpture requires a lot of engineering and problem solving. An understanding of how the piece is supposed to move, and allowing for trial-and-error will give participants a change to create artwork through engineering.
Possible Activities –
1. Art-O-Motion II Kinetic Sculpture (Blick Art Materials) [Video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc_6Xo2N1mg ]: Allow for participants to create a three-dimensional sculpture that uses paper “sails” that moves with the wind.
2. Art–O-Motion Mechanical Sculpture (Blick Art Materials) [Video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs88aC0k0yI ]: Participants will create a kinetic sculpture that uses a pull-string system to allow pieces to spin.
3. Kinetic Sculpture Challenge : Give participants several types of materials to work with. Require a height requirement and movement requirement (at least two parts must move, etc.). Participants can test their sculptures in front of a fan.
Resources to Consider –
- What is Kinetic Art? What is Kinetic Sculpture?, from Kinetic-Artist : This webpage provides definitions of different types of kinetic art.
- Kinetic Scuplture, from Encyclopaedia Britannica : Provides information about the art and the artists.
Art – Pour painting is a technique made famous by Holton Rower. There are different types of pour painting; however, the most recognizable requires artists to create wooden towers that they then pours paint over.
Science – The tall paintings that Holton Rower creates rely on gravity to do most of the work. This means that the artist determines the order of the colors being poured onto the wooden structure, while the structure of the tower and gravity will determine the pattern.
Possible Activities –
1. Tall Paintings: Give participants small wooden cubes (caution – you probably won’t be able to reuse them) to create their own tower. Place the cubes onto a piece of cardboard, paper, or foam plate. Using acrylic paint, have the participants pour different color paint over the top of their tower.
Resources to Consider –
- Holton Rower : Holton Rower’s website will provide pictures of the artist’s work.
- Maurice Sapiro : This artist has a series of pour paintings, which use a different technique than Holton Rower.
- Dave Kaufman – Holton Rower Tall Painting : This is the video that started it all! It seems like I’ve seen this video everywhere when this first started. Definitely worth a look, and could be used in your program.
These are just a few ideas for ways to incorporate art and science. Do you have any ideas to share? Please let us know if the comments section – we’d love to hear them!