Maker in Residence

Meet the Maker: Dayton Castleman

July 14, 2022

What “makes” a Maker in Residence?

The Maker in Residence program brings creatives with their various experiences to the Scott Family Amazeum for a short-term residency to collaborate with team members in developing new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) exhibits, public art and performance pieces, and experiences to share with Amazeum guests.


Dayton Castleman is a 47-year-old from a small town called Arabi in St. Bernard Parish just downriver from New Orleans, LA “I was fortunate to grow up in a city like New Orleans and see the visual spectacle of how life was lived down there, I think it was an important part of my formation.” He is a creative who pushes art past the boundaries of perception to create moments of wonder to reform interactive experiences as we know it. While some may consider his work sculptural, Dayton believes that doesn’t quite capture the breadth of his “making”. “It’s really places and spaces. Not so much the materials that the intervention in those spaces conforms to, but spaces that people interact with in unpredictable ways.”

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: When you ask a 47-year-old guy with a 7-year-old a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old what are your favorite hobbies? He’s gonna go “what are hobbies?” That was something I did 20 years ago, that was amazing.

Dayton first landed in NWA by working for Phat Tire Bike Shop, a local cycling shop that promotes exploring our local environment and getting our community outdoors to enjoy beautiful trails. “I’ve been off my bike as much as I would like to be for a while now so I feel guilty even talking about myself as a cyclist! That was the way we could land here and begin to build and raise our family here.”

Q: Favorite office supply?

A: The Ruler. Squares and rulers bear a standard. Right angles and 16ths of an inch are indispensable tools. Tape could be scotch or painter's tape, they come in a lot of different varieties and stickinesses but a ruler doesn't come in varieties. There's not a variety of an inch, that’s just a bad ruler.

Currently he is the Director of Creative Placemaking at Verdant Studios, a woman-owned full-service architecture, and design firm in NWA that believe in the importance of art and how it influences the creation of public spaces and architecture. “My boss and our founder Jessica Hester wanted art to become more of an integral part of her firm's purview and she brought me on board to help begin to build that. The maker in residence is one of those activities that's a part of building the question - what does it look like to be an artist in an architecture firm?”

Q: If you were a tool, what would you be?

A: A square, with a good ruler on it!

The part of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Dayton relates to the most is Science. Although he doesn’t identify as a scientist, he appreciates and feels that a scientific approach is most appropriate when describing his artistic method and process. “When you begin your art education what you start with is line, shape, color, value and texture. Those elements of design within the visual arts are not unlike the atomic particles that make up the universe. It’s about getting outside the view of it and understanding the layers of why do art objects do and why it is valuable. How do these images actually work and we do that by getting under the hood. That pushes the same buttons in me that experimentation does.”

Q: If you were an Amazeum exhibit, what would you be?

A: The rolling discs of different scales, sizes and densities. It's my favorite thing to play with and the one I would want to be too, it's an amazing exhibit.

What makes a “Maker”? This question is something that is difficult to define and can be different for makers from a variety of creative disciplines, but to Dayton, the best way to explain it would be “The universe is full of chaos. Anytime you pull two things that are distinct from the chaos or delineated in some way, I think that person is a maker. That can come in its own simple or complex forms. That's my definition of a maker”


The Maker in Residence Program is funded through a grant from the Windgate Foundation.