San Diego, California
Ilus Art K-12 Education Program
At the center of Ilus Art’s mission is its K-12 education program, inspiring scientific curiosity in students through art. Ilus Art believes that Art should be officially integrated into schools’ STEM programs to enlighten students about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with Art as a means to further engage students in the STEM fields. Many studies have been conducted that confirm the importance of the Arts in a child’s development,1 whether it is through musical, visual, digital or performing arts.
Ilus Art’s K-12 program introduces students to the beauty of cells that make up the tissues of their own bodies. Ilus Art instructors display cellular art pieces and share a presentation to briefly discuss the “Science behind the Art.” The students are taught that the beautiful pictures are captured by research scientists in laboratories across the United States. The scientists’ goals range from understanding human development to tissue regeneration or engineering. Additionally, students learn that the body has the capacity to regenerate much of its own tissue via its internal stem cells and that research is being conducted to better understand how our cells and organs function to repair damage or improve patient treatment after injury or disease.
Ilus Art’s K-12 presentation engages the students in the STEM fields in varying degrees and inspires the students through scientific art. The presentation includes: 1) teaching the students to recognize the beauty of the cells within their own body; 2) teaching the students to consider unique opportunities or interest in the STEM fields including Art as future educational or career paths; 3) a discussion about stem cells and how they are able to regenerate tissues and organs; 4) a discussion and video on multimedia used in regenerative medicine research including a video demonstrating how 3-D printing is used in research, engineering, architectural design, art, and video game design; and 5) discussion of new technologies available to students.
Ilus Art recognizes that art lies at the interface between researchers and the general public, and by engaging students’ interest with cellular art in grades K-12, scientific discovery becomes exciting and accessible at a younger age for the researchers of tomorrow. Additionally, the acronym “STEM” originated in national initiatives to create a cohesive, integrated curriculum to curb the isolated teaching of STEM subjects in schools. However, Ilus Art proposes that art is an inherent component of the STEM fields as seen in Ilus’ cellular artwork, so art should be incorporated into this integrated curriculum to encourage more students to engage in the STE[A]M fields as well. Ilus Art believes its unique K-12 program can be a catalyst or initiator of curiosity to advance the child’s own interest and desire in the STEAM subjects. Combining the STEM initiative with ART could improve creativity and ingenuity to help transform our nation’s youth and even the economy over the coming decades.2,3,4
1. Eckhoff, A. (2008). The importance of art viewing experiences in early childhood visual arts: The exploration of a master art teacher’s strategies for meaningful early arts experiences. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(5), 463-472.
2. Robelen, E. W. (2011). STEAM: Experts make case for adding arts to STEM. Education Week, 31(13), 8.
3. Ko, Y., An, J., & Park, N. (2012). Development of computer, math, art convergence education lesson plans based on smart grid technology. Computer applications for security, control and system engineering (pp. 109-114). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
4. Pomeroy, S. R. (2012). From STEM to STEAM: Science and art go hand-in-hand. Scientific American Guest Blog.