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Part art gallery, part science lab, part theater, Michigan State University is launching an initiative to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, art and math in Detroit’s young adults.
The funds will be distributed in $200,000 increments over the course of five years and will support exhibition development, production, community engagement efforts and staffing needs.
Troy Livingston directs Science Gallery Lab Detroit.
“The idea was to create a space that gave the university a more permeable membrane with the community,” says Livingston. “The way we want to do that is to engage people in science through art and art through science. And the galleries have a very strong commitment to equity, access, and inclusion for all people.”
The goal of MSU’s lab is to reach youth ages 15-25 who are making important decisions about college and career choices and show them the interconnections between science, the arts, culture, design, business and innovation.
“We especially want to engage women and people of color because, particularly in the sciences, they’re way underrepresented when we look at who practices science.
“We explore big ideas about the way the world works today and the way that it will work in the future.”
Jeff Grabill is MSU’s associate provost for teaching, learning, and technology and says MSU is a great choice for North America’s first Science Gallery Lab because its mission is consistent with MSU’s rich land grant tradition and mission.
“When Troy brought the idea of Science Gallery to me, I thought it was like a hot knife going through butter at this institution,” Grabill says. “The values of access, inclusivity, and excellence – and the fact that the lab is a learning institution deeply engaged in community and meant to transform the world” make it a perfect fit for MSU.
“The challenge is how do we maintain MSU’s identity and mission for the next 50 years. The landscape in higher education is changing dramatically and exponentially. Universities are slow-moving places. There are a lot of virtues in being a slow-moving place, but we need some opportunities to extend our mission in agile, creative, and innovative ways.”
(photo left to right: MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Jeff Grabill, Troy Livingston)