Thursday, April 28, 2005

Art and MEMS--an interesting collaboration

Over the past couple of months I have been working with Bob Schmidt, Fred Lisy, and Colin Drummond, from the Ohio MEMS Association on an interesting project that combines art with math, science, engineering, and workforce development.
In a letter, sent several months ago, Bob expressed the projects' goals.

As you know, Colin Drummond, Fred Lisy, and I have been working to develop a new MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) industry in Cleveland. [MEMS are miniature, usually silicon-based sensors and actuators. "If microprocessors are the 'brains,' MEMS are the eyes, ears, arms and legs of systems." MEMS based accelerometers are the sensors that actuate airbags in automobiles upon a crash.] This new MEMS industry will help promote 21st century, high technology, jobs in Cleveland. However, creating a new industry requires a significant change in culture; away from the iron and steel, hierarchal mentality to the silicon-based, networked society.

As Joseph Campbell told us, the artists are the keepers of the culture. So, to change the culture, we need artists to lead the way in changing Cleveland's culture. I am asking the Cleveland Public Schools to join us in our quest to help improve the city and its economy, to help us grow wealth in our community, and to better educate our citizens.

To increase community awareness of MEMS technology, and perhaps inspire young people to pursue careers in the industry, the Cleveland Municipal School District and the Ohio MEMS Association are sponsering an art contest/exhibition.

The Art of Small Contest and Exhibition
Sponsored by:
Ohio MEMS Association and Americas'Arts and Sciences Foundation
Exhibition, Tues., June 7th, 2005

PURPOSE: To stimulate and demonstrate the process and end result of'seeing' in a different or unusual way the things that makes up our world.
To develop and exercise the habits and patterns of mind that lead to
innovation, invention, resourcefulness and ingenuity.

Subject: Things that are small and/or ordinary, seen in a
different or unusual way. There is not a requirement for a literal
reproduction or imagery of MEMS, but there must be some connection to
the domain of those things micro or nano, small in some way. Devices,
fabrication techniques, facilities, uses of devices, or any combination
thereof, or any other MEMS related activity is encouraged. The final
submission is up to the artist, but remember, the best artwork changes
the viewer's perspective and may change the culture of the audience.

This past Monday, 25 Cleveland high school art students from across the district, were invited to the Cleveland Innovation Center to learn about MEMS, and talk about the exhibit's theme: The Art of Small.

A few days ago I posted some of my thoughts concerning local corporations involvement with the public schools.
Here is one example of an industry that understands the importance of developing these relationships.

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