Putting the Art in STEAM
Rarely a day goes by that someone doesn’t slowly walk into the Scott Family Amazeum, look up, down, and all around then ask: “Is this the art museum?”
Since the Amazeum opened on July 15, 2015, at the east end of Museum Drive, there’s been hundreds of people walk in looking for the museum’s more famous neighbor at the end of the road. Our Guest Services Team is great about letting everyone who walks in know that the Amazeum is an interactive museum for children and families featuring experiences that connect the arts and sciences to the real world before offering to let our new friends walk around explore.
What they see is a collection of hands-on exhibits based in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). What they discover, believe it or not, is a number of original artworks from regional and national artists and makers covering the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and perched outside the museum each as a result of the Amazeum’s Maker in Residence Program.
Launched in 2017, the Program brings diverse makers and artists to the museum for an extended period to collaborate with the Amazeum team to build an interactive experience, facilitate workshops and programs, and demonstrate their process for turning an idea into a tangible object that integrates the arts and sciences in creative, clever and curious ways.
Since then, the museum walls came to life with light and color in Interplay: Bugs and Bulbs a mural by Fayetteville-based artist Jason Jones. Working with the Amazeum team to program LED lighting to enhance pigments in the paint, this mural visually changes with the color of light creating a three-dimensional experience for the viewer. Jones also added one of his signature robots to the museum that seamlessly integrates into the walls of Cloud Theater.
Sammy the Sea Monkey by Minneapolis-based artist Asia Ward floats above Nature Valley Water Amazements. This 16-foot-long brine shrimp, crafted from the same plastic used in disposable water bottles, elevates awareness of plastic as a medium for sculpture and a metaphor for the creative reuse of a material seen as single-use and environmentally unfriendly. Sammy invites guests to the museum to rethink creativity and become curious about making their own art from non-traditional materials.
Entering or leaving the Amazeum, it’s almost impossible to miss The Incredible Electric Technicolor Mockingbird by Denver-based artist Amanda Willshire. Also known as “Maude,” this metal sculpture of the Arkansas state bird, includes some one-of-a-kind technology enabling it to “talk” to guests developed by Fayetteville-based Maker/Artist Eugene Sargent.
At the Scott Family Amazeum art integrates with science, technology, engineering and math resulting in unique creative pieces driven by curiosity and imagination. Curious about Amazeum Makers in Residence and their projects? Read about all of them on our blog. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to stop in and discover art in the Amazeum.