Artists have a knack for bearing ideas outside the realm of convention.
But what happens when a creator is not only equipped with the latest technology to augment a medium, but cross-pollinates with other artists concocting complimentary creations? Who knows.
And that’s exactly what the Kansas City Art Institute is excited to learn with its new David T. Beals Studios for Art & Technology, a state-of-the-art facility that’s serving the school’s more than 600 student-artists. The nearly 4,000-square-foot digital laboratory is now enjoying its first semester of use from students within the entire institute’s field of studies, fostering a diverse environment ripe for ingenuity.
Luring artists working in ceramics, wood, metal, plastics, computer design and more, the Beals Studio features 3-D printers, a digital loom, a rapid prototyping equipment, two CNC-routing machines and more.
The Nerman Family and KCAI president Tony Jones said that the studio aims to serve the contemporary student that wants to leverage the latest in technology to enterprise new concepts and quickly test ideas.
“The idea here is very simple,” Jones said. “You have an idea, and you want to make it come to life, you want to hold the ideas in your hands. Here we have a rapid prototyping laboratory where you can conceptualize work on a computer, feed it into these mills and 3-D printers and come up with something that works very quickly.”
Walking through the studio reveals a cornucopia of creativity. With symphony beeping machines to offer a score, students mingle amid rows of 3-D printed animal skulls and icons like Nefertiti and the Eiffel Tower. As one student digitally drafts a teapot lid, another uploads a table design that’s being cut via laser. Black and white tapestries rest atop the hulking digital loom while an instructor challenges a student to tweak the dimensions of a project.
It’s exactly the type of interaction Jones hoped for at the studio, and it’s serving a need that his students called for.
“Students want to work with new technology,” he said. “It stretches their abilities because they learn about materials, they learn about form, they learn about time. And how you handle those together and how you can make it work quickly.”
Check out this video on the studio from Startland News’ Meghan LeVota.