Teens Explore Art and Energy

By Ellen Madden – 10th Grade, Moon Area High School

From giant flowers made out of solar panels to huge hourglasses that use solar energy to power hundreds of homes, the Public Art & Renewable Energy Workshop at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh gave teens a different view on renewable energy. On June 30, Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) came to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for the Public Art & Renewable Energy Workshop to teach teens about making eco-friendly public art.

With the motto “renewable energy can be beautiful,” LAGI is an organization set on integrating art and creative processes with renewable energy. They go around the world and teach people how easily you can put nonrenewable energy into public art pieces. They call these public art pieces “land art generators.”

The teenagers who came to the workshop played games made by the representatives. For one game, the students rolled 5 dice which would gave them information about their new land art generator . The dice explained the location of the land art generator, the technology it would harness, the purpose it would serve, the form it would take, and the shapes it would incorporate. After the students rolled the dice, they began to sketch out their ideas. The point of the activity was to help them imagine renewable technologies in everyday places and to design their own public art.

One of the teens present came up with the brilliant idea of a tree that is made mostly of solar panels. While the trunk would just be plaster, the leaves could be made out of thin solar panels. Also a small patch of grass could be made out of the same the of solar panels as the leaves. Many of the other teens were still brainstorming their ideas by the end of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop, LAGI representatives announced the LAGI 2016 Youth STEAM Competition for middle school and high school students worldwide. Students will design artwork that integrates renewable energy technologies, and the winner or winning team will be rewarded $6,000 and a trip to Los Angeles for the award ceremony. All youth submissions will be in exhibitions, published in a book, and published online.  Although LAGI has held a competition for professionals since 2010, this is their first youth competition. The complete design guidelines for the competition will be available at www.youth.landgenerator.org on August 15.  The competition will open August 15, 2015 and close May 16, 2016.

This workshop helped me get a better idea on how we can use art and science to make energy. There are many different ways to make renewable energy rather than just putting solar panels on your roof. The idea that you can use art to make the world more eco-friendly is an incredible thing. The teenagers who went to this workshop came out of it with a whole different view on renewable energy. If you’re a creative person and want to get some of your ideas out there this competition would be great for you.

The teens who participated in this workshop earned the digital “Designer Badge” from Pittsburgh City of Learning.

Ellen Madden 1Ellen Madden is a sophomore at Moon Area High School.  She enjoys photography, music, and theatre. She hopes to gain more experience in media and journalism with Pittsburgh Youth Media.


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