Arts and science is a winning combination
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The Vero Beach Museum of Art and Indian River State College were recognized for their partnership and collaboration in a dual-enrollment program project this month.
A stroll in the art museum's galleries through Jan. 5 will reveal breathtaking photographs from around the word in "Simply Beautiful: Photographs from National Geographic," and right next to it are other examples of beauty, and these are much closer to home.
In a project dubbed "From STEM to STEAM: Putting Arts in STEM," the museum and Indian River County high school students dual-enrolled at Indian River State College, have been creating art projects, and the fall 2013 project features a digital photo display of the Indian River Lagoon.
The project emphasizes the lagoon and promotes lagoon awareness, said Shanti Sanchez, school and youth programs manager for the museum.
The collaboration with the college has been going on since at least the fall of 2012 and has received attention from a state organization that promotes campus-community partnerships, Florida Campus Compact.
Education experts promote science, technology engineering and math, or STEM, frequently, but the truth is, arts programs are just as significant in the well-rounded education of students, Ms. Sanchez said.
Developing creativity in students or showing students how they can be creative is valuable because it can show them how they can share their knowledge and skills in unique ways, she said.
The 15 students that participated in the project researched and learned about the local properties owned and preserved by the Indian River Land Trust, as well as the Indian River Lagoon, and the challenges the area faces because of the loss of sea grasses.
In all, the project really connected art, math and science, as well as community service, Ms. Sanchez said.
The project will be on display until Jan. 5, after which it will be taken down and sent to the Tallahassee offices of state legislators, along with letters written by the students about what they learned about their local environment, Ms. Sanchez said.
Previous "From STEM to STEAM" projects include creating recycled puppets to accompany a spring 2013 exhibit "Recycled Dreams" by Pablo Cano, and a sculpture made with 600 soup cans for a fall 2012 pop art exhibit.
The cans were donated by Publix Supermarkets and after the exhibit closed, the cans were given to a nonprofit that helps people in need.
For more information about "From STEM to STEAM" collaboration or exhibits at the art museum, call (772) 231-0707 or visit www.verobeachmuseum.org.