Sierra College to host new Arts and Innovation Day

Creativity fair aims to highlight link between arts and sciences
By: Andrew Westrope,
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When: 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26

Where: Sierra College, Rocklin

Cost: free

For more information:

ROCKLIN – Wary of a growing separation between science and creativity in education, staff at Sierra College have planned an “Arts and Innovation Day” to demonstrate the critical link between the two.

The free, day-long event starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26 with a creativity fair around the college’s amphitheater and arts buildings. The fair will feature live performers, exhibitions by clubs, vendors and a chance for visitors to make their own art with drawing, photography, print making and other hands-on activities. Guest speakers from Stanford University, the Arts Council of Placer County and other organizations will also address audiences in various labs and lecture halls around campus.

Anthony Maki-Gill, technology specialist with the college’s art and design program, will attend with an exhibit of photos and videos of a moving, man-powered sculpture project called “Kinetic Conveyance,” partially designed by the college’s engineering and welding students. The exhibition opened Monday at the Ridley Gallery in the college library and will have a reception Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. The exhibit will continue through Oct. 3 and feature in the Sept. 26 event.

Maki-Gill said most of the speakers will focus on the equal utility of art and science in 21st century jobs. He believes it’s a critical point of modern education - obvious yet frequently unrecognized – that both are integral with similar disciplines in the process of conceiving, planning and realizing an idea.

“My interest in participating … is to dispel the prevalent myth that arts are extracurricular in our society, and not worth resourcing,” he said. “The arts drive innovation. The arts invent the next new thing. Creative capacities in humans are what make us human. The same methodology one would use to invent a scientific breakthrough, we use when we’re inventing new ways of communicating visually.”

Event organizer Michelle Coder, a music professor at the college who also teaches at Music & More Arts Academy in Auburn, said Arts and Innovation Day started as a project for the Sierra College Leadership Institute. The event was originally going to be a collaboration between the college’s music and art departments, she said, but it piqued the interest of other professors and has since recruited the participation of more than a dozen other departments.

“Everyone is using creativity and art in their work, and the arts are a part of all these disciplines. If we want our students to be creative, the best way to do that is to expose them to the arts and have them actually make things, or sing, or act,” Coder said. “If you ask a student who hasn’t had any arts background – and I mean none – to do something creative or innovative, they have a difficult time doing that. They’ve never explored that part of themselves, so they think they’re not creative. What’s really happening is that they’ve never been allowed to explore their creative capacity, and that’s a real issue.”