DOWNEY – A STEM (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is designed to apply the knowledge of math and science in order to create technologies. STEM programs need to maintain an intense focus to create solutions for real-world problems. STEM lessons do not necessarily exclude art, given that they naturally involve the form of language/communication (performing arts), and product design/creative planning.
More and more companies today are hiring creative thinkers, artists, and designers to bring new mindsets to their workplace; mindsets that will allow for the exploration of new avenues that can lead to success.
In recent years, the idea of integrating arts into STEM programs has been gaining momentum. Various studies have shown that students involved in the arts are more successful academically. Art inspires creativity and influences innovation.
On Saturday, June 4, Stay Gallery and Downey Federal Credit Union will be hosting their second annual STEAM Festival. This event will have multiple activities designed to apply art, alongside math and science, to promote the future of education, and the inclusion of artistic interests in learning.
The event is free and open to general public but geared for activities for ages 4-10.
STEM vs. STEAM is not necessarily a battle between the sciences and the arts, but a balance of both that needs to be established. In order to mold motivated and competent students who are prepared to bring solutions for tomorrow’s problems, kids need to learn that art and science can work hand in hand to improve the future of technology.
The second annual STEAM Festival allows students to experience the future of education through engaging activities and interactive demonstrations. Downey Federal Credit Union and Stay Gallery have partnered up with local creatives, STEAM teachers at Downey Unified School District, the Downey MADE Career Initiative, Downey and Warren Engineering programs, Columbia Memorial Space Center, Sciences & Entertainment Exchange, and the Downey Kiwanis Foundation to promote an approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics, as access points for student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. We believe that art and design are the tools necessary for innovation in the 21st century and we seek to give students a glimpse of the future of education through this festival.
The festival will be taking place in the hours of 10 am to 4 pm at Downey Federal Credit Union and its surrounding streets. Activities for the event will spill into the streets to ensure that there is enough space for each attendee to learn and play throughout their stay at the festival. Upon entrance, participants will receive a pamphlet with an ‘Activity Checklist’ listing all the activities that will be available. Activities include: egg-drop, scribble bots, robotics demonstration, paint & darts to name a few. Participants will either learn through tangible experiences and workshops or observing demonstrations that will be put on by local businesses, students, teachers, and professionals. After completing all the activities on the checklist, kids will be gifted a tote bag filled with goodies.
The volunteers that have been working all spring to carefully craft their activities for the STEAM Festival are excited to share their knowledge with the hopes of getting kids excited about a well-rounded educational festival. One popular activity that will be returning from last year’s festival is the Egg Drop Challenge. This challenge put together by the Columbia Memorial Space Center allows for kids to design and create a structure that allows an egg to survive a leap from Downey Federal Credit Union’s balcony. “Design matters in everything we do, especially when trying to keep our egg from breaking.” This product design challenge allows students to explore engineering in a creative way that naturally involves the arts: kids will creatively plan the execution of their product while effectively learning how to communicate the outcome for their project.
Stay Gallery is the facilitators of this event and will also be running a few different stations during festival. Stay Gallery is an organization whose mission is to civically engage their community through the arts to build a vibrant sense of place where people can live, work, and play. Stay Gallery’s stations throughout the festival that will promote art: a STEAM Mural, that will depict a lot of imagery relating to STEAM education, and Water Balloon Paint Darts, where kids will be crafting their own darts to pop balloons filled with paint onto a canvas. In partnering with Downey Federal Credit Union, one of their biggest supporters, Stay hopes that together they can throw a festival that inspires creativity within our youth.
Learning takes place outside the walls of the classroom just as much as it does at home. Providing our youth and their families with festivals that inspire critical thinking and problem solving ensures that the whole family can get a glimpse of the future of education, and makes parents a part of the learning process as well. We welcome everyone to attend our second annual STEAM Festival on June 4th to be proud supports of innovation!
For more information on supporting Stay Gallery’s youth initiative and STEAM Festival, visit: staygallery.org/donate
Ana Godinez is curator and youth coordinator at Stay Gallery.