End-of-Semester Showcase Features Innovative Work from Stevens Art & Technology Students

12/12/2011

The Babbio Center Atrium was transformed into a gallery last week, courtesy of almost three dozen Art & Technology majors from the Stevens College of Arts and Letters.

A semester’s worth of innovative artwork was on display for a week-long, student-run, end-of-year exhibition called #HYPE, which featured selected works of photography, print media, video, animation and more created in studio art classes such as digital imaging, drawing, photography and 3-D design.

“We wanted this exhibition to increase awareness of the great artists we have on campus,” said sophomore Frank DiCola of the Art Installations Club, which organized #HYPE.

Walking through the Atrium, you could see an intricate close-up photograph of a bee, a sculpture of a ship made out of wood and wire, and an abstract rendered print on display. As diverse as the pieces were, many had one thing in common – most of the artists used cutting-edge technologies or engineering concepts to create their artwork, reflecting the program’s unique focus on marrying design to technology and science.

Stevens has a long history of merging art and technology. One of its most renowned alums is Alexander Calder (’19), who incorporated his training as an engineer into the arts and invented the mobile.

The Art & Technology major was established in 2003 with the goal of educating students in various disciplines of the visual arts, preparing them for technical, scientific, engineering, entertainment, design and fine arts careers with a wide array of specialties, including web design, graphic design, industrial design, product design, advertising, animation, video production and even research.

“One thing that really sets Stevens apart is that we are a research university,” said Brian Moriarty, Affiliate Associate Professor of Art & Technology. “There are lots of schools with art programs, but how many offer students the chance to innovate new tools and techniques and incorporate science and engineering into design?”

According to Moriarty, teaching the business side of an art career is another thing that sets the Stevens program apart from other universities – even those at the array of renowned fine arts institutions which also call the New York metropolitan area home.

“What is missing from the traditional art education is learning how to sell your art and your skills,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon our program to provide students with the ability to do that when they graduate from Stevens.”

Moriarty said a few of the students in the growing program are already earning a paycheck by running their own video production companies or selling animation design services. But to make that the norm, not the exception, the Art & Technology program has partnered with the Business and Technology program to teach its students marketing and entrepreneurship skills.

The Art & Technology program also runs other initiatives and partnerships to ensure its graduates are career-ready. Moriarty tasks his students with creating e-books of all of their work and publishing them professionally on Lulu.com; some were presented at #HYPE. The program has also created courses focused on the emerging area of social media, where there are plenty of job opportunities for students with experience as both designers and technicians. And it offers computer graphics and visualization courses developed by the Department of Computer Science.

#HYPE culminated on Friday with a silent auction, in which attendees bid on the showcased works. Proceeds were donated to Art Feeds, a nonprofit organization which brings art education to underprivileged communities worldwide.