ISM Stories

New ISM Robotics Lab & Art Studio Debut with a Bang

The International School of Minnesota celebrated the grand opening of its new robotics lab and art studio on May 18, after three years in the making. SABIS® President Carl Bistany was on hand for the official ribbon-cutting, along with students, teachers, and staff.  

The new studio offers an array of arts, including ceramics, featuring a kiln and pottery wheels. Ceramics is a new medium available to ISM artists. The robotics lab is perfect for both instruction and research & development experimentation.

Art in Action

P.J. Mack, ISM Art Department head and art teacher, couldn’t be more excited about the new space. 

“It feels a lot bigger. I feel more comfortable in it; the kids feel more comfortable. It’s a good space to be creative,” said P.J. Mack, ISM Art Department head.

Construction on the 30x60 art studio began in Fall 2020. Art classes began in the new studio in March, right after spring break.

Featuring tall ceilings, large windows, and lots of natural light, Mr. Mack – who specializes in the ceramic arts – hopes the new studio and the ceramics offering will attract even more students to the art program.  

“The new space allows us to bring in the construction side of art – students can build with their hands. Kids love to work with their hands. We’ve always been limited to two-dimensional work, and now we’ll have a chance to work three dimensionally. It will be a game changer,” said Mr. Mack. 

The new art studio will be filled with up to 350 pieces of student art, ranging from preschool-12th grade, during the upcoming Art Extravaganza: A showcase of student work from 2021-2022, on May 31, from 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. Two or three pieces of art for each student will be on display, including prints, charcoal drawings of cubist work, pen and ink drawings with watercolor, and fingerprint art. 

Students who focused on Dr. Seuss’ illustrations have already had their work displayed during the Spring musical, Seussical. Those pieces will again be available for the Art Extravaganza

Robotics Lab Launches 

The Art Studio is adjacent to the new Robotics Lab, which is the same size and features industrial design with an open space for both instruction, experiments and for FTC robotics competition. ISM Chinese language teacher Steve Song and his robotics team co-coach and ISM parent Manny Peterson helped design the new space.

“My favorite part of the new robotics lab is the interactive board. Mentors and students can easily demonstrate and share our thoughts on the board,” said Steve Song, robotics team co-coach and aerospace club mentor.

Mr. Song says he’s thinking positively about the robotics teams’ winning chances this year. 

“We have our regular team meet up in the lab, and that’s where we plan the project and delegate duties to each individual. Students will design and test their robots in this lab by ideating, researching, collaborating and prototyping. We’re looking forward to bringing back some trophies this season,” said Mr. Song.

 So far, the student response has been positive: “We all love it!”

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