ArtCenter students in grades 4–8 have been taking fashion to a different level. Or in this case, a different planet.
Every Spring term, all ACX Kids classes—from Animal Sculpture to T-Shirt Design—focus on a common theme: imagining life on Mars. It’s all part of the Imagine Mars Project, an interdisciplinary program sponsored by NASA and the National Endowment for the Arts that takes students on a virtual mission to Mars and brings them back with a new outlook on community, science and the arts. For these classes, ArtCenter for Kids students have an opportunity to meet with scientists and engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to bring this theme to life
A group project for ACX Kids’ Big Draw class imagines life, and fashion, on Mars. Instructor Yelen Aye says he begins his Fun with Fashion class by giving his students a briefing on important facts about the Red Planet. The trick, he says, is not bogging them down with too much information. “I don’t want them to think their projects need to fit a certain mold,” explains Aye, whose students have imagined everything from couture space helmets to plastic business suits. “I want them to be informed, but I don’t want to influence their thought process. I want to harness their raw vision.”
“Here on Earth we take certain things for granted, like gravity,” said David J. Delgado, Art Center alumnus and Imagine Mars lead at JPL, adding that the main skill Imagine Mars students develop is creative problem solving: “We ask the students to dig into their imagination and come up with things that have never been seen before.”