Ten schools toured the Library District’s Sahara West Library in the studio to witness profound connections between art and science

8 News NOW was there as Harley Harmon Elementary students reflected on a retrospective exhibition: the work of visual artist Linda Alterwitz.

“When I make work that’s a complicated beauty, it says something else, and it transforms the landscape into something else, and that’s what makes good art for me,” she said.

One project titled “Just Breathe” had participants lie down at night with cameras resting on their chests. The participants pointed the cameras at the night sky for a 30 second exposure.

“It makes me feel like the world is big and beautiful,” said 4th grader Hanna Huynh.

“I love ‘Just Breathe,’ because it’s about the stars and how it looks like they’re actually moving,” said 4th grader Samaiel Rodgers.

The movement of the person’s breath creates an optical illusion that is documented on Alterwitz’s digital camera. Many found the exhibit fascinating.

“My favorite part of the art exhibit was the stars that they showed, because it was huge, and it showed different types of stars,” said 4th grader Brianne Cabalo. “It made me feel like I was one of the stars in the sky.”

“It made me feel happy,” added 4th grader Diana Galvan.

Alterwitz photographed these star fields around the world – from capturing the Milky Way in the Dominican Republic to stargazing in Las Vegas.

“I used to live in Utah, and they have lots of stars, and I used to look up, and it’s just beautiful,” said 4th grader Richard Hague.

Other exhibits use medical imagery to represent something completely different, challenging perception and finding creativity within X-rays.

“The most surprising element was the way the X-rays look like landscape,” Rodgers said.

Science, always there, is connected to art. One example uses GPS with each photo, and these photographs involve an uncommon method.

“Advancing the film, and then it overlaps, and then you see two frames on one,” Alterwitz said. “Then, you just expand on that –  the happy accidents.”

Student engagement impressed the artist.

“They understand what I’m talking about, and I can go into things like metaphor, symbolism, and they ask relevant questions. I love that,” Alterwitz said. “What really stands out for me is how smart these kids are.”

“I wanted to see everything and understand everything,” Rodgers said.

“Art and science together, it’s amazing, because you can turn it into something very beautiful and creative,” Huynh added.

That’s What’s Cool at School.

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