Summer art course explores new robotic artists

Robot Artist

By TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

The Southington Library will take on a new, futuristic approach to artwork this summer, with their children’s course titled “Art: Human vs. Machine.”

Using an annual grant for summer art education from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the library purchased a water-color robot. The robot is specifically designed to create water-color paintings, and will accompany the library’s 3D printer, which molds a tangible object from an entered design.

Students ages 9-12 who have enrolled in the course will learn to use both the water-color “bot” and printer, and will create similar project using traditional mediums.

With water color paints, paper and clay as their tools, librarians Cindy Wall and Lynn Pawloski will lead the children in a discussion to compare their traditional medium art with the pieces created by the robot and printer.

“The kids are going to be comparing their products and processes,” said Wall, “We’re going to talk about whether art made by a machine is actually art.”

The students will also be shown a video discussing the work of artist Dominic Wilcox, who explores a similar concept of human-made and robot-made art.

Wall and Pawloski will encourage students to determine differences and similarities in the artistic value of the different works.

The students will spend three days over the next five weeks developing, creating and comparing the different works of art and will see their work displayed in the New Britain Museum of American Art at the end of the course.

The museum will promote the students’ projects with a reception on Aug. 20, to debut the work that will remain on display through Aug. 22.

The class is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, a nonprofit that works to connect donors to humanitarian, educational and cultural organizations in Southington, New Britain, Plainville and Berlin, distributing more than one-million-dollars in grants each year.

The arts foundation grant has been offered to the children’s department at libraries in Southington, Plainville, New Britain, and Berlin for the past three summers.

Each library presents an idea for an art medium to the foundation, and the four community classes culminate at the end of summer reception where students are welcomed to showcase their work, joined by their parents, members of the community, and students from the other programs.

Kaylah Smith, program and scholarship director for the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain said the goal of the grant program is to be “able to show people in the community something they might not have known about,” and offer children in the area a positive way to fill their summer schedule with education and art.

While they have seen a positive increase in youth involvement with the New Britain Museum of American Art, the foundation also hopes the classes will encourage children to pick up a summer book and explore other resources at their local library when there for their free class.

This summer, students at the library in Berlin will learn about jewelry making and improv comedy. Plainville students will train their photographic eye, and the New Britain library will host a comic book workshop.

The multi-community gallery “makes the presentation at the museum a little bit more multifaceted,” said Smith.

This is the first time the Southington Library is hosting this course, and the first time that the new water-color bot will be used. A second course will depend on popularity of the lesson and practice, but the library plans to use the both the robot and printer in the future.

Though this summers’ course registration is full, members of the community are invited to view the students’ work and the robot and printer projects in the Gallery this August.

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