By Elijah Dennison and Lily Zipprer
Friday October 19th marked SPC’s second Science Night. Last year, SPC hosted its first science night on November 1st. Their second science night took place at the SPC Tarpon campus and was hosted by the Leepa-Rattner Museum and Mike Davis, Chair of the Natural Science department for SPC’s Tarpon campus. A major difference between this science night and the last is that the theme of this Science Night was to show how science and art complement each other.
Guests arrived around 6 PM at the Leepa-Rattner Museum where two art stations devoted to different crafts, like origami and drawing, were open and ready for them. The origami station was hosted by Ann Larson, Director of the Leepa-Rattner Museum. When asked why she believes science night is important Ann said “Well for us, because we’re an art museum, to find ways to make art relevant and with this particular activity (origami), this shows that art isn’t just pretty and inspiring…In Israel, elementary school students learn algebra, trigonometry, and geometry by learning origami because it makes it palpable as opposed to abstract, so the possibilities for it are just endless.” For inspiration, Ann Larson had origami videos like Into the Fold playing while she helped people in creating origami. At the other art table, the Education Assistant, Nina Rivera, volunteered with the drawing activity where she helped people learn how to draw Van Gogh’s A Starry Night. She believes that Science Night is beneficial because it gives kids the opportunity to experience firsthand how blending two different subjects like science and art helps kids to better appreciate them.
The museum introduced guests to their Weird Science: Technology and Art exhibit with the help of curator Christine Renc-Carter. Renc-Carter gave her opinion on how art and science relate, by stating “they relate on many levels and I think it goes back hundreds of years, I think scientists are very creative they have to be as they’re you know investigating and coming up with theories, and it’s a natural cross over. And of course, most art material are based in science, and they come from alchemy. And you think about the periodic table and all of those minerals and where paint colors come from, so I think it goes back quite a ways.” She also believes that science night is important to help people who are interested in science see art in a different way and even see science in a different way and that they try to do this with a lot of academic subjects. This exhibit focused on photography. It included works by Sheila Pinkel who graduated with her degree in photography without using a camera and experimented with x-rays and light to make her photos. It also featured works by Maggie Foskett who was inspired by finding a spider on her photo in lager lens to take bits of nature and make slides with them creating collages that magnified nature creating amazing photos. When asked, she said that her favorite piece was Do I Know my own Shadow, by Maggie Foskett, which included an x-ray of the artists own skull that she thought made this piece very personal. Renc-Carter said that she was fascinated by how Maggie Foskett was inspired by the spider in her in lager and reinvented herself as an artist.
Mike Davis hosted his science shows and wowed the crowd with his experiments. Materials like stunt powder, dry ice, trashcan-cannon smoke rings and more were all a part of his demonstrations. Davis used many volunteers from the audience as a part of the show. Cooper, a boy who Mike Davis used from the audience for a demonstration, enjoyed how interactive the whole science show experience was. When asked, Davis was passionate about makes events like science night important: “Especially for places like community colleges, St. Pete College, and the Leepa-Rattner Museum, this is a great opportunity to share what you have. We’ve got all this great art, all this great science, and people need to know about it.”
SPC Science Night 2018 was a huge success and a fun experience for everyone who joined LRMA for this event. They did a great job of blending science and art and making the night enjoyable for all. Patti Buster, the Museum Education Coordinator, said that one of her favorite parts of science night was the science shows with Mike Davis. She loved the activities and the exhibits that blend science with art and hopes that they can host another science night next year.