Art meets science in Bailey Gallery exhibit Full STEAM Ahead

Ben Bailey Art Gallery - 02/18/16 - 03/18/16

Contact: Julie Navejar or 361-593-2590

When art meets science, beautiful things can happen. That is a lesson taught to the fourth and fifth grade students at Driscoll Elementary School and the results of that experience are now on display at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

The exhibit, Full STEAM Ahead, will be on display from Thursday, Feb. 18, through Friday, March 18, at the Bailey Gallery. A reception will honor the student artists at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25.

The fourth and fifth grade students from Driscoll were given a tour of the John C. Perez Serpentarium and the A.E. Leonard Family Native Plant Garden by Dr. April Conkey, assistant professor in animal, rangeland and wildlife sciences. They learned about the components of a rattlesnake’s habitat and food web in South Texas.

Once back in their classroom, they made drawings of their favorite snake and were taught painting techniques by Dr. George Vargas, Professor of Art and Director of the Rural Arts Program. Assisted by Frank Barrera, art instructor at Driscoll Elementary, the students created an acrylic painting of a Texas snake living in its natural habitat.

Dr. Mary Beth Green, associate professor in educational leadership and counseling and Coordinator of the Instructional Technology Graduate Program, interviewed each young artist on video talking about their artwork in Full STEAM Ahead. These videos were turned into a smart phone app. 

As visitors to the Bailey Art Gallery view the exhibit, they can download the free app and see the student’s video playing in an augmented-reality fashion over the painting. Headphones are recommended for listening to the interviews.

“The integration of seeing the habitat and animals in person and creating and explaining the artwork helps the students retain the science concepts and understand more about their local environment,” Vargas said.

Full STEAM Ahead, in which “Steam” in the title stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, was sponsored by the university’s Rural Arts Program and funded by the Texas Women for the Arts.

The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 361-593-3401.