The Paseo promotes youth participation

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Digital Media artist Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins, a Paseo 2015 artist, will be the highlight of a summer Paseo Pop-Up event set for Thursday (Aug. 6) starting at sunset.

The arrival of Gaskins from Boston, Massachusetts, kicks off the STEMarts Lab @ The PASEO programming, a series of youth workshops based at schools across the district, according to an announcement from The Paseo director J. Matthew Thomas.

Gaskins’ short pre-Paseo visit will culminate with a free outdoor projection piece on the Luna Chapel on the Couse-Sharp Historic Site at 146 Kit Carson Road. The chapel was built in 1835 as a family sanctuary and purchased as an art studio in 1909 by Joseph H. Sharp, one of the founders of Taos Society of Artists. This is a free event, but donations will be accepted to help benefit PASEO 2015.

“This unique PASEO 2015 ‘teaser’ will be an opportunity to meet the artists, learn about the 30 installations planned for The Paseo, enjoy music by DJ Oliver, and help support The PASEO,” Thomas writes.

Gaskins was born in Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in computer graphics and art and technology, she worked for several years in K-12 and post-secondary education, community media and technology before enrolling at Georgia Tech where she received a doctorate in Digital Media in 2014. Her model for ‘techno-vernacular creativity’ is an area of practice that investigates the characteristics of this production and its application in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

This year The PASEO again will host a series of youth workshops organized through the STEMarts Lab. The STEMarts Lab@The PASEO youth program is a series of educational workshops that allow students to collaborate with the interdisciplinary PASEO artists exploring STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in their art. Students learn valuable STEM skills through creative expression and collaboration.

Their goal this year, Thomas states, was to bring a PASEO STEMartist into every middle and high school in Taos. Agnes Chavez, founder of STEMarts Lab, said in a prepared statement, “To enhance the unique STEAM component, we have encouraged art and science teachers from each school to spearhead the project, facilitating the art-science focus of the workshop. We are excited to report that all middle and high schools in Taos will be represented at the PASEO this year.” Teacher and students will work with the artist up to one week prior and then perform/install their work live at The PASEO event along with their host artist.

Gaskins will be the first of nine artists sharing their craft with local schools with a workshop titled: Electrofunk Mixtape: A Virtual Sounding Space, a three-day summer workshop with students from Taos Academy and Taos Pueblo.

“Students will learn how to create their own cultural designs and sound devices that respond to color and light,” Thomas writes. “Gaskins has always been interested in the relationship between humans and nature, sound and imagery. Her recent works feature cosmograms – cultural maps of time and space – such as the medicine wheel that show multiple positions or directions.” For the pre-Paseo debut, viewers will be treated to a spectacular happening that, she says, “samples and mixes sounds and images from existing cultural artifacts and the environment to display complex visualizations.”

Marie Reyna, director of the Oo-oonah Art Center at Taos Pueblo, is now a collaborating partner. “She will be coordinating an informational meeting at the Oo-oonah Center to gather the interested pueblo youth to learn more about the workshop and register,” said Chavez.

Gaskins will return in September for The PASEO outdoor art festival to show her projection piece with over 30 other installations. Her piece, titled: “AR Virtual Sounding Space,” uses Spatial Augmented Reality (projection mapping) and physical computing, sound and video projections to layer different media and effects on top of physical objects such as sculptures and walls to create complicated sound and image patterns. Visitors wear gloves that play sounds with their fingertips, convert colors to musical notes, interact with video projections and more. You can learn more about Gaskins on her website (nettrice.us).

The Paseo is a project of the Taos Fall Arts Festival and is an outdoor arts festival bringing the art of installation, projection and performance to the streets of Taos. For 2015, The Paseo will take place Sept. 25-26, as part of the 41st annual Taos Fall Arts Festival. It is billed as “a 100 percent free public art event.” You can learn more at paseotaos.org. Pre and post-festival events will include more about the workshop and register.

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