Best known for fabricating ambitious, large-scale installations, MICA faculty member Stephen Hendee is creating a new objective for his studio practice — carving out time to shape a new generation of makers thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant.
Serving as an artist-in-residence at Open Works, a makerspace in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District, Hendee will use the grant to create an afterschool program driven by new technology at the fabrication shop. He will begin teaching a group of Baltimore City public high school students at Open Works this fall, granting them the time and tools necessary to learn and understand digital fabrication methodologies and processes in his course Makers of the World Unite.
“Some of the tools we’ll use will include the relationship between vector-based software and robotic tools using blades or lasers for cutting paper, cardboard, plastics and wood,” he explained. “Other assignments will guide students through 3-D software to 3-D printing. These projects will thread the concept of production workflow from ideation to iteration of possible designs, staging designs for the digital tool set and then the post-production of assembly.”
Students will earn youth membership credentials at Open Works during their time spent in class, and Hendee is hopeful the semester-long adventure into digital fabrication will inspire students to consider a new career path. This goal is at the heart of his belief that artists should be involved in teaching young up-and-coming creatives, builders, crafters and dreamers.
“It’s a great opportunity to share knowledge, but also to encourage a new generation of makers developing content that’s uniquely theirs to realize,” he said.
“For some, this will be their first exposure to making objects through multiple processes and media. The course will allow for expanding the scope of the students’ understanding and possible direction they might want to take in making art, being involved in the future of manufacturing technology, or beginning a discussion about how audience building and entrepreneurship begins with ideas. The baseline is that they can use this experience to continue their education in the new
media environments and institutions that encourage the development of transdisciplinary media to reach diverse audiences.”
At the end of the semester, Hendee and his students will hold a symposium at the Lazarus Center to reflect on their process as they present their projects. The group’s final works will be on display, sharing space in Gallery CA alongside some of Hendee’s own pieces.