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Blick Art Materials and Bio-Education and Art for Science Innovation cooperate for two visual art competitions at San Diego's Science Festival

The “Art as Science” and "K-12 Science Art Challenge" contest at the San Diego Science Festival highlights two important opportunities for art educators, one is the validity of a cross curriculum approach to putting together lesson plans, the opportunity here is for increased support for visual arts programs with administration by demonstrating how art can support other educational programs. The second opportunity is the continued willingness of community organizations and corporations to help support education as school budgets become more pressed, the use of community sponsors of art should be a continued priority to acquire resources for visual arts programs.

The organizations supporting the Art as Science events are BioEASI (Bio-Education and Art for Science Innovation) and Dick Blick Art Materials.

BioEASI is an organization founded by three graduate students at the University of California, San Diego who have been enthusiastically seeking innovative ways of pushing science from the lab and into the community.
The BioEASI mission is to communicate to people the ideas of science in a way that words cannot, visual art becomes the tool to making even the most complex issues of science comprehensible to anyone and everyone. The hope is to increase science literacy and reverse a perceived lapse away from the scientific way of perception with it's emphasis on the scientific method, approaching problems with an open mind and following logically where the data leads.

BioEASI, therefore, strives to blur the distinctions between art and science by using visual art to exhibit the aesthetics of research from active scientists into the public domain and in the classroom.
The curriculum plan at the Science Fair begins by reviewing art that inspired by science.

Science researchers in San Diego County for whom the visual arts is a second passion were invited to present their work in BioEASI's "Science as Art" booth.

The art from the communitie's local scientists and researchers were therefore available for the K-12 student artists to review and to inspire.

In a second BioEASI booth a DNA quilt is provided for students to exhibit their art, the DNA double helix being the “Backbone” that connects the various art works on paper.

The winning art from the K-12 Science Art Challenge" included botanical art, art looking at the potential of environmental healing and a better world and art exploring atomic structure. This art was incorporated into the DNA Quilt Project.

Lastly the students were encouraged to imagine themselves as virus entering a human body in a project called “Cat Scratch Dance”. This project educates the continued importance of immunization and preventive care in a " Walk-in Immune System booth.

The “Art as Science” contest was open to both San Diego researchers and K-12 students – with participation including more than 60 submissions.

Blick Art Materials donated art kit prizes for the contest winners, whose winning art was also on display at the San Diego Science Festival.

Blick Art Materials is a strong advocate of art education. It’s important that funding for art isn’t cut from schools or art curriculum thought of only as an elective. BioEASI’s approach of using art to bring science to the forefront is just one of many examples of how art can be used to educate. Art stimulates patience, concentration, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Blick Art Materials is also working with a similar contest open to students across the nation, inviting public school students from K-12 to submit any medium of artwork. The contest is managed through an organization called BusRadio, which is an innovative media company that reaches more than one million students every day on their bus ride to and from school. Submissions are being accepted annually online at http://www.busradio.com/contest/art in three categories (Elementary, Middle and High School). Winners will receive up to $300 equivalent of art supplies from Blick Art Materials and their school will receive the same prize, with a value up to $2,600. The competition, while closed for 2009, will be open for entries again in 2010. The winning entries for 2009 will be posted shortly at the BusRadio website.

The BusRadio and Blick Art Materials art contest has received all submissions for this year's program, but encourages the public to help pick the winners by visiting http://www.busradio.com/contest/art from May 6 and May 20 to vote on your favorite. Winners for the 2009 contest will be announced by May 29, 2009.