It’s late winter/early spring in New York City and you’re looking for an indoor activity that won’t rot — and ideally, will even stimulate — your kid’s brain. ARTech: Adventures in Art + Technology, a pop-up activity center for children should be at the top of your to-do list. Not only is it a spacious, interactive installation where both you and the kids can explore and create using art and tech, it’s also free!
Full STEAM Ahead!
A partnership between the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, the Children’s Museum of the Arts and the New York Hall of Science, ARTech is a two-month long series of interactive activities, installations and workshops designed to engage visitors in various aspects of STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
Staged in a newly-renovated 8,000-square-foot vacant retail space, ArtTech is an experiential learning experience designed to encourage kids to consider how, when art and technology are combined, innovative solutions to old problems can be discovered. The installation also prompts kids to take note of these disciplines in their daily lives and consider the impact of STEAM on the world in which they live.
Teaching artists will be on hand at each of the ARTech stations to both assist visitors and answer questions about technology, process and more.
Read on to learn what ARTech has in store for guests!
The award-winning design kit Rigamajig is enlisted in this large space reserved for building whatever little minds can dream up. (There’s even a soft-play corner for very tiny kids.) Wooden planks, pulleys, rope, wheels, nuts, bolts and more can be assembled any which way.
Kids get to build their own vehicle, and learn about the difference between speed and velocity, thanks to brightly-colored ramps of varying slopes and shapes.
Tech company and Meatpacking resident GIPHY presents a particularly fun station that will also make great Instagram like-bait. You and the kids can make your own short animated GIF, that, in addition to being fun and cool, also clearly demonstrates the concept of animation — and yes, you get to keep it!
Crawl inside this portable planetarium to get a look at a miniature version of the night sky — accurate for both date and location! In addition to a facsimile of NYC’s current stellar situation, kids can also see constellations from Native American and Greek mythology, and learn the stories that accompany them.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts transports its popular Ball Pool to the storefront space of ARTech — and it’s exactly like what it sounds, minus water. Giant, inflated rubber balls provide a fun space for burning off some energy before moving on to more sedate stations.
Danny Rozin Installation
Also featured at CMA, but given a deserved spotlight here, is the beautiful and mesmerizing oversized pixelated painting by artist Danny Rozin. The work, which incorporates dozens of mini tiles created by kid visitors to CMA, responds to the shadow of viewers of the piece.
ACCESS: Artist and Scientist Collaborations
Here families can explore ideas such as ecology, connected systems, sustainability and climate change through art installations created by artist-and-scientist teams.
Works include “Monster in the Closet”, an animated adventure by Laura Chipley and Hannah Zanowski that highlights the Southern Ocean’s role in regulating Earth’s climate; “1,000 Fingers of Decision” by Carrie Dashow and Matthew Liao, which explores the importance of an individual’s decision-making in addressing climate change; and “A Tale of Dogs in a Changing” World by Coche Gonzalez and Jack Tseng, that takes visitors on a 40-million-year journey of the dog family.
Organizers took advantage of a low wall connecting two areas of the installation to create a space where kids and parents could post colored sticky notes with answers to a question, which will change daily. (“What’s your favorite color/animal?”, etc.
When and How to Go
ARTech is recommend for kids ages four and up, and will be open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday from 3 pm.-7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. for all of March and April.
It’s free, and walk-ins are welcome, but you can also register online to guarantee a spot and less waiting. Arrive 15 minutes before your start time.
Workshops and programming will rotate throughout the run, so check the ARTech website to see what’s on tap that day or week. (The interactive stations listed above will be there for the duration of the project.)
451-459 W. 14th St.
Will you be heading to ARTech? Tell us in the comments!
— Mimi O’Connor