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Rye Arts Center Receives Grant To Create Maker Space

From left, Gail Harrison Roman,trustee, Wallace Fox Foundation; Helen Gates (seated), executive director, RAC; Jennifer Howard, owner, JWH Design; and Adam Levi, RAC senior director.
From left, Gail Harrison Roman,trustee, Wallace Fox Foundation; Helen Gates (seated), executive director, RAC; Jennifer Howard, owner, JWH Design; and Adam Levi, RAC senior director. Photo Credit: Contributed

RYE, N.Y. -- With a grant award of $20,000 from The Wallace Fox Foundation, The Rye Arts Center will be creating a maker space at its 51 Milton Road location for its STEM+Arts programming.

Driven by increased demand and interest in integrating STEM curriculum with the arts, the RAC’s maker space will be in the second room photography. Maker spaces are growing in popularity as the new laboratory, or “sandbox, for creativity," said Helen Gates, executive director. "We’ve found that people have a passion for creating and making, whether it’s high-tech or high-touch. Our maker space will include 3-D printers and laptops with the latest software. But we’ll also have traditional equipment such as darkroom  enlargers, as well as a sewing machine and hand tools for hands-on craftsmanship.” The RAC maker space was the brainchild of Adam Levi, senior director at The RAC, and Gail Harrison Roman, a longtime RAC supporter and RAC Advisory Council member. Roman, a trustee for the Wallace Fox Foundation, is an ardent advocate for the arts and arts education.  “I’m delighted that The Rye Arts Center is taking the lead in offering STEAM-based educational experiences,” said Roman. “This physical renovation of space heralds curricular innovation as well.” Levi is busy developing curriculum that includes courses such as Minecraft, Maker Maniacs, SCRATCH Programming, MakeyMakey musicmaking, engineering with LEGOs and music composition with Finale Notepad.

Even the gallery at the RAC is influenced by science and math, as seen in its current exhibition featuring the paper engineering feats of design genius Irving Harper. The RAC maker space is scheduled to be completed by the end of October. It will be dedicated in honor of Rosalind T. Harrison, Roman’s mother, whom she describes as a homemaker and story maker. Design and construction of the maker space is being managed by RAC board member Jennifer Howard of JWH Design.

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