The pilot program was introduced in the summer of 2016 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex in Titusville, Florida. It was a great success. The program consisted of art classes for children and adults as well as an artist in residency program at the Visitors Complex. Classes were also conducted in Cocoa Beach, Tampa, and in Central New York.
Art Classes for Children
The primary focus of the program is a series of classes for children that integrate Science, Technology , Engineering, Art , and Math principles (STEAM) using uniquely designed art lessons. The students began the program by touring the Kennedy Space Center facility where they enjoyed learning about the past, present, and future of space exploration.
Working in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida and The Kennedy Space Center Education Foundation, disadvantaged children were given the opportunity to learn first-hand about NASA by viewing actual space craft including the Atlantis Space Shuttle, a Saturn V rocket and touching a real moon rock. Students also experienced a launch simulation ride and an iMax movie about the International Space Station.
The first round of the children’s art classes was conducted at the Cocoa Beach Florida Boys and Girls Club facility. The interactive curriculum was specially designed by veteran aerospace artist Don Gillespie to teach complex principles in an easy, engaging and entertaining way. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) are integrated into each class activity.
Experiential Learning: Bringing Outer Space Down-to-Earth
Students were able to speak with astronaut and artist Nichole Stott via a live internet feed from Houston, Texas. She shared her experience in space as an astronaut/artist and discussed the challenges and thrills of painting in a zero gravity environment while aboard the International Space Station. The interactive event broadened their horizons and gave them the unique experience of having their questions answered by a real-life astronaut.
In August the program traveled to New York and was taught at the CNY Arts Center's "ArtyCamp". The camp was well attended and a scholarship fund was established which enabled several additional disadvantaged children to take the course.