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New Westchester Community College Program Helps Young Artists Pick Up STEAM

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PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Science and art are no longer mutually exclusive studies. This summer, Westchester teenagers can learn how to combine them in a program developed by Westchester Community College's Center for the Digital Arts in Peekskill.

Students ages 7-17 can enroll in “STEAM” courses that merge science, technology, engineering, mathematics and arts.

The two-week classes run from July 6-30. Students will spend two to four hours in the classes, which include 3D animation, coding, game design, digital drawing and bioart. For the complete list of classes, visit the program website .

Sherry Mayo, the director of the Peekskill Extension Center, said a pre-college program has been offered to teens since 2004. Last year the Center decided to combine arts with technology and science through STEAM.

“We had previously offered digital arts courses in July,’’ Mayo said. “This is a complete re-do. We wanted to combine elements of art and technology that were interactive and engage our students.”

After students complete the program they will have portfolios or finished products. Mayo said students who study game design, for instance, will take home an executable game. Students in painting and drawing will complete projects on paper and canvas from observational drawings using Adobe Photoshop. Students in an Exploring Biomimicry class will create botanical illustrations keeping in mind the work of John James Audubon, the Hudson River School painters, and anatomical painters. Students will draw and paint while viewing slides through a microscope

“The kids get to express themselves and it gives them skills that they are not necessarily getting in schools,’’ Mayo said. “They’re learning to express themselves through these new types of technology while garnering skill sets with science content. They’ll get excited about that.”

Mayo said that while some students lose focus during warm summer days spent inside a classroom, there are many others who discover a passion that could be life-altering.

“Some of them go to Westchester Community College for their freshman year because of the technology,’’ she said.

Mayo said students don’t need any technical expertise to enroll in the classes. “We don’t assume any previous experience,’’ she said. “In the beginning, the teacher will demonstrate certain digital techniques. They spend the first session brainstorming. Then they’ll get a demonstration and it goes from there. We get some great ideas.”

Details and course descriptions are available at www.sunywcc.edu/peekskill or www.sunywcc.edu/peekskillyouth.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, Westchester Community College

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