Artists can apply for the “Empty Space: A LASP Artist in Residence Program” by completing the application and submitting several examples of their work. The application deadline is July 21, 2023, at 11:59pm.
The “art-meets-science” initiative at CU Boulder’s largest research institute will help connect STEM professionals, Front Range artists, K-12 students, and the local community.
When NASA engineers had to come up with a way to fold the 6.5-meter-wide mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope into the 4.5-meter-wide fairing of the rocket on which it would launch, they found a solution in the art of origami.
Using origami to fold a telescope mirror is just one example of how STEM and artistic disciplines can support each other. Recent research has shown a connection between the creativity required to solve difficult problems and the creativity involved in producing art. There’s also evidence that integrating the arts into STEM education results in science learning gains for K-12 students.
To take advantage of and highlight these connections, the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), the largest research institute at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder, is initiating a new Artist-in-Residence program and calling for artists to apply to participate in it by July 21, 2023.
The program, which officially launches this month, is sponsored by LASP and the CU President’s Teaching Scholars Program through the Timmerhaus Fund, which supports faculty activities that promote public understanding of the value of CU degrees. The $30,000 award to David Brain, a LASP researcher and Astrophysical & Planetary Science faculty member, will allow three artists to learn about the exciting research and innovative engineering happening at LASP. The artists will shadow engineers and scientists, attend meetings and lectures, and interact with LASP students and staff. The artists and scientists will also host local K-12 groups to learn about LASP’s expertise through art.
The artists will then produce artwork inspired by their time at the institute, in any medium they choose in the visual, literary, or performing arts. The program will culminate with an exhibition at Boulder Public Library’s Canyon Gallery, running from the beginning of February through the end of March 2024. The artists will help lead school groups in creating a portion of the exhibition, such as provide a prompt for drawings of our solar system.
“Thanks to the CU Timmerhaus funding, several Front Range artists will be able to immerse themselves into the work and culture at LASP during the upcoming fall semester, providing unparalleled opportunities for them to interact with the STEM professionals at our institute, and vice-versa,” said Brain. “It’s sure to be inspiring for everyone involved.”
Brain will be assisted by Sky Shaver, an Aerospace Engineering Sciences graduate student, and Willow Reed, the lead coordinator of the Boulder Solar Alliance Research Experience for Undergraduates program and a LASP communications specialist. In addition to pursuing a doctorate, Shaver is part of a local dance company and has taught dance to people of all ages from toddlers to seniors. While teaching at high school, she takes advantage of the opportunity to also discuss current space missions and research being conducted at LASP.
“Math and physics are the languages of the universe, but it takes creative thinking to generate the meaningful questions that further our understanding of the cosmos. Having K-12 students engage with LASP scientists and the selected artists will show students how important creativity is to doing good science,” said Shaver. “We hope that the program, in collaboration with our community, inspires current and future generations to get involved in space, and opens the door to new and exciting ideas in space research and exploration.”
Artists can apply for the “Empty Space: A LASP Artist in Residence Program” by completing this form and submitting several examples of their work. The application deadline is July 21, 2023, at 11:59pm.