During Colleen’s residencies at observatories in Hawaii, Chile and Arizona she wished to connect through art with scientists and engineers working there. The activities were designed for people who might have no background or even interest in fine art. The workshops had to be focused on creativity but not on traditional art production skills like drawing, painting or sculpture. As well, the workshops had to fit into scheduled lunch or coffee breaks and therefore be fairly short. So, the techniques had to be fast, easy and not traditional, and produce lovely art based on the aesthetic decisions of the participant. The art had to be successful and striking otherwise why would anyone want to participate?
The results were surprising – not only did several hundred participants from many countries (telescopes have many international visiting scientists and engineers) enjoy the workshops and produce beautiful art work, but, in some cases, the psychological benefits led to increased productivity. Engineers told Colleen that if they made some art in the studio, instead of having a coffee break, it felt like they’d had a nap and would go back to their problem-solving feeling refreshed. Most engineers and astronomers use the analytical part of their brain all the time. Art demands that the intuitive part of the brain is activated and the ‘judge’ of analysis is sent away for a while. But, for whatever reasons, these activities worked very well for a wide array of people.
If you are interested in these workshop activities, for further information, please contact Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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