Art Springboards

By Megan McGregor
NEWS Reporter


 

T

he Springboard Program at Mercersburg is one of the best creative outlets for students to further explore and develop their passions while exercising academic freedom. Seniors spend the majority of the fall term in their Springboard class, learning about different topics or issues that are pertinent to that subject. They brainstorm ideas with a faculty member who is an expert in that particular field and eventually choose a final project to develop throughout the rest of the year.

There are multiple courses for students to delve into, such as Parallel Histories, Global Food Chains, and Education Across Borders, just to name a few; there are also several arts-related Springboards. When asked about them, Emily Howley, the head of the Springboard Program, responded by saying,  “Springboard has a lot of arts options because it is interdisciplinary. The obvious ‘arts’ Springboards are COMMARTS and Performance as a Creative Collaboration (offered again for 2018), but students in Rapid App Development and the Maker’s Lab can also create arts-based projects.”

Maker’s Lab, for example, is program that introduces students to the possibilities of creating virtually anything by collaborating with each other in an interactive environment equipped with every fabrication tool and material imaginable. Students decide on something that they would like to develop and are encouraged to make their idea a reality.  David Holzwarth, the instructor for Maker’s Lab stated, “Students are challenged to design for cultural relevance as a way to understand a need and a reason to care about our human existence. Whether [the final project] be for creative play or social action, the students gained skills, self-confidence, and experience with practical application.”

On April 20, 2017 seniors in Maker’s Lab had an Exposition during which they presented their final projects to the Mercersburg community. Visitors had the opportunity to view the imagination and hard work that went into each presentation and ask Maker students detailed questions about design and construction. Projects included a surfboard designed by Katie Hofman ’17, cosmetics created by Demi Nwachukwu ‘17, and artificial heart valves that were programmed by Maddie Rogers ’17.

Asked about her experience with Maker’s Lab, Rogers talked about creative freedom in an encouraging environment. “It can be a big task to come up with an idea for something you want to create or imitate, but pretty much any idea you come up with, they will support you in,” said Rogers.

“Failure is not an option; it’s inevitable!”

Posted in: Arts

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