Children First: SDSMT and Dahl team up to fund kids' art program - KOTA Territory News

Children First: SDSMT and Dahl team up to fund kids' art program

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Arts programs across the country face funding shortfalls every day. The solution for some is to petition local leaders to support the arts.

But now a local group is taking a more playful approach.
 
"Our old donation box was very little, very small, it wasn't very interactive," said Naomi Even-Aberle, the co-director of the art education department at Rapid City's Dahl Arts Center.
 
"A tiny, four-inch by four-inch by four-inch cube that just said donate on it," added South Dakota School of Mines and Technology mechanical engineering instructor Jason Ash.
 
The Dahl's former children's interactive gallery curator, Victoria Ledford, decided that needed to change.
 
"With the name being interactive," Even-Aberle said, "Victoria felt we should have a donation box that reflected that."
 
So with the help of five engineering students, three mechanical and two electrical, from SDSMT, the fusion of art and technology was born (and also served as their capstone project last year).

From an artist's perspective, "The idea was to give a physical representation to the idea that technology and art together is a mix of two different art styles," Even-Aberle said.
 
And from an engineer's perspective, "When you're designing products, they also have to be appealing to consumer as well," said Ash, "so art invariably gets inter-mixed along with that."

The inter-mixing also helps with fundraising: When you donate, your change goes into a Plinko board.

Get it through the center slot, and you get to launch a ball pinball-style through the upper half of the donation box.
 
"Kids want to go put money in the machine and get it to work and turn on," said Billy Burke, a Sturgis father who brought his three kids to the Dahl and spent some time (and money) trying to get the ball to launch.
 
"It's fun for the kids and definitely encouraged me to give money," agreed Rapid City mother Melanie Schoen.
 
And it's already encouraging kids to find links between tech and art.

In a perfect demonstration of that connection, one child made a crayon rubbing of one of the slots on the new donation box while experimenting with different textures.

The Dahl hopes to raise between $300 and $500 this year with the new donation box.

All of that money will be pumped right back into programming for the children's gallery.

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