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‘Hour of Code’ at Taos Middle School a Huge Success

code map


Taos Middle School was one of 166,726,959 schools around the world that participated in the national week-long Hour of Code event, designed to get the whole world dedicating one hour to learning code using their fun and easy tutorials.  Launched in 2013,® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

Thanks to Los Alamos National Laboratory who coordinated a task force of LANL volunteers to send out to schools across Northern New Mexico, we received Jacob Miner, Graduate student/scientist. Jacob lead three one-hour sessions, totaling over 75 students, through the fun and well-designed tutorials of coding Minecraft puzzles and design challenges.  Tracy Galligan sent two high school students  to assist. It was a huge success and the kids loved it. The lead teacher, Christine Garcia, who had never been exposed to coding before this, was already helping students through challenges by the end of the day. Principal Alfredo Cordova visited the classroom and caught the motivational videos that are part of the tutorial, with guest appearances by President Obama, and celebrities such as Jessica Alba.


The best part is that this well funded and well-designed website is free and available anytime for anyone to use. They even have more advanced programming tutorials for programs such as Javascript and Python. Some of the students were already moving into advanced courses within the hour!

Special thanks to Dr. Torrez, Jeff Everett and the whole TMS team that made this last minute demo possible. STEMarts LAB is planning to design more programming around this amazing resource so for anyone that missed out this time, stay tuned! Photos coming soon.

Taos High and Taos Academy Join to Project Particles at The Harwood Museum of Art

Particles team_THS_harwood


Congratulations to all the students that participated in the Projecting Particles STEMarts LAB sponsored by The Harwood Museum of Art Teen Engagement Program, Los Alamos National Laboratory and ATLAS at CERN.

The workshop kicked off with a live virtual tour of the ATLAS control room at CERN led by physicist, Dr. Steven Goldfarb, courtesy of CERN. Students learned about the latest discoveries in particle physics such as the Higgs-Boson particle and how these theories are transforming the way we perceive space and time, and expanding our definition of who we are and where we come from.

Tagtool visualization by student, Boaz Devenyi

They then saw many examples of new media artists working with interactive projections to see how art is beginning to explore these concepts through visualizations. Finally, they  learned to use Tagtool, an iPad app developed by Paseo artist, Markus Dorninger, to express these concepts themselves.

The four students from Taos Academy that led the workshop were stellar and taught me to so much. They created a fun and collaborative environment that engaged and empowered the new students from Taos High. They then worked together as a team to create and deliver a beautiful projection performance for the Lighting of Ledoux. All in four days time.

Special thanks to Juniper Manley and Jayne Schnell for partnering with STEMarts LAB to make this collaboration happen. Thanks as well to lead teachers Carla Chavez, Taos High School and Karin Moulton, Taos Academy, for making this 4-day (28 hour) interdisciplinary workshop occur (partly after school and partly during school hours) so that it can be accessible to students who might not have had access otherwise.

We are looking forward to our next teen-led Projecting Particles LAB at The Harwood in February so stay tuned!

STEMartist: Agnes Chavez

Participating students:

Taos Academy Teen-leads: Boaz Devenyi, Cade Harris, Justis Daniels-Bezout, Haley Rach

Taos High School students: Left to right: Cade Harris, Roberto Martinez, Haley Rach, Agnes Chavez, Brandon Trujillo, Aurelia Chavez, James Young, Justis Daniels-Bezout, Ricardo Trujillo. Missing from photo: Asher Vigil, Aryanna Zarazua and Boaz Devenyi.

CERN Virtual Tour at Taos High School


This morning at 7am students from Taos High School led by biology teacher Carla Chavez, and four teen-leads from Taos Academy participated in a live virtual tour of CERN in Geneva Switzerland. CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator. This was the kick-off for the Projecting Particles workshop organized by STEMarts LAB@ThePASEO, and sponsored by Harwood Museum and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Taos High School and Taos Academy students collaborate on Sci-Art project.

Teen-leads; Justis Daniels-Bezout, Boaz Devenyi, Cade Justin and Haley Rach will lead a 3-day Sci-Art Lab that explores particle physics to express new ways of interpreting the world around us through projection . The Lab culminates on Saturday December 5th with a projection performance at the Harwood Museum for the Lighting of Ledoux.

Projecting Particles is a series of workshops and Sci-art events that began in 2013 through a partnership with physicist, Dr. Steve Goldfarb at ATLAS Experiment at CERN. Dr. Goldfarb leads the virtual tours and facilitated a two-week research stay for STEMarts Lab Founder and Americorp VISTA, Agnes Chavez. This collaboration has led to many exciting workshops and events over the years: National Hispanic Cultural Center/516 Arts (ABQ), Taos Academy (Taos), Explora (ABQ), The PASEO (Taos) and Havana Biennial (Cuba).

Lighting at Ledoux, Harwood Museum
December 5, 2015 5-7pm

Breaking News for STEAM and Arts Education

Origination Point. Interactive installation by Agnes Chavez in collaboration with Marcel Schwittlick and Robert Schirmer. Thanks to ATLAST@CERN.

Origination Point. Interactive installation by Agnes Chavez in collaboration with Marcel Schwittlick and Robert Schirmer. Thanks to ATLAST@CERN.

BREAKING NEWS: “In the midst of the biggest shakeup of federal education law in over a decade, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) successfully added an amendment today to the rewrite of the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation that will integrate the arts into STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math)…Read more

This is exciting news indeed. When STEMarts was formed in 2009, the idea of unifying the arts and STEM was only being explored on a university level by by Rhode Island School of Design and a few other innovators. Now STEAM initiatives are being supported by major science institutions such as The National Science Foundation with grant funding and conferences focusing on the marriage of art and science.

More good news. The Senate bill contains 11 arts-friendly provisions, and retains the arts as a core academic subject —a priority for Americans for the Arts and the arts education field. – See art as core subject to read about the announcement and see the highlights below. The implications for these changes in education are monumental. We are now moving steadily toward prioritizing creativity and recognizing the value of art as process and way of knowing in equal standing with the scientific method. I am very excited to be a part of this movement.

Here are the highlights of the Senate bill according to ARTSblog:

  1. The arts continue to be defined as a core academic subject! It is one thing to be defined, and something else entirely to include implementing requirements that can provide a clearer picture of what exactly it means to be a “core” subject. Here the bill:
  2. Provides that core academic subjects are included in instruction and enrichment activities associated with expanded learning time.

  3. In terms of funding, “core academic subject education activities” are also listed as eligible activities in the Local Competitive Grant program.

The Senate committee bill also would help strengthen the arts at the district and state education department levels. It does this in two key ways:

  1. The arts are specifically authorized under local educational agency activities, while also being described as “tools to promote constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution.” This authorization is part of a new Safe and Healthy Students initiative and is a signal that the committee understands that teaching the arts brings a host of additional beneficial outcomes, in addition to achieving arts competency.
  2. Under state plans, the bill allows state educational agencies to describe how they will “encourage the offering of a variety of well-rounded education experiences to students.”

Read the full blog post here:


Art Meets Science at Cafe Scientifique

Art Meets Science at Cafe Scientifique

Agnes Chavez is an artist, educator and Co-Director of The PASEO. She is also an Americorp VISTA, whose mission is to ‘Help Build Capacity for STEAM Education in New Mexico.

Agnes is out spreading the word about the power of art and science for social change. Her interactive presentation takes youth through her personal journey as an artist inspired by science with a passion for humanitarianism. She shares the science that has informed her work, talks about the unique socio-economic landscape that students need to be prepared for to succeed in the world, and advocates for the creative hybridization of technology, an interdisciplinary approach to life and using art as a vehicle for change.

She will be doing this presentation as part of the Cafe Scientifique series in Los Alamos on November 3rd and in Taos on December 3rd. You can visit for more about her projects and work.

PASEO Pops-in on Taos Pueblo Halloween Carnival

Electrofunk Mixtape Projection

After coming down from the buzz and excitement of The PASEO which took place on September 25,26, we are ready to do some Pop-Ups to keep the momentum going!

Mark your calendars for THIS  SATURDAY October 24th from 10am-7pm at the Oo-oonah Art Center on Taos Pueblo for the Halloween Kids Carnival. Oo-oonah Art Center founder, Marie Reyna, is holding her annual fundraiser and PASEO is going to pop in to help out. The Oo-oonah art program was founded in 1984 and provides wonderful traditional arts programming to all children. The event will include fun Halloween carnival games with prizes, as well as mini workshops and demos for kids.

Agnes Chavez and Melanie Redmond will be demonstrating a video mapping software by collecting images from participants throughout the day which be transformed and projected on to the exterior building at dark. Liz Neely will be creating mini ghosts and bats with her 3D printer and talking about the applications of 3D printers for young and old alike. Meanwhile, kids can experience traditional workshops and demos for just $1. How about learning how to make fry bread?

So get on your costumes and bring out the whole family for some fun, while helping to support this wonderful program for the children in our community.

Here is the schedule:


Traditional workshops and demos


Poetry performance by Lyla Johnston


3D printing demo with Liz Neely

Video mapping demo with Agnes Chavez and Melanie Redmond

DJ sounds by Christalyn Concha


Student Reception. Come and share posole with us!


Closing video mapping projection on to exterior building of Oo-oonah Art Center

THE Port at CERN meets Taos Artist Matt Thomas

matt port_web

During my residency at CERN in March I met Ines Knaepper and Danial Dobos. They had recently launched an innovative project called THE Port, whose mission is to “combine creative minds from CERN and non-profit organisations in interdisciplinary teams to work on humanitarian technology related benefits to society.” They shared their project goals and expressed that they were not getting as many artists applying as they would like to see and asked if I had any ideas or could help.

Coming from Taos, where we have more artists per square mile than sagebrush, I said sure we could help.  Synchronistically, Daniel happened to be in Santa Fe for a conference a few months later and we met up in Taos, along with Matt Thomas, so we could discuss the possibilities of a STEMarts/PASEO/THE Port partnership.

Well within minutes of hearing what it was all about Matt was ready to sign up to represent Taos for this years project at THE Port.  He had to go through a rigorous application process which you can see by the caliber of projects and participants on the site, and I am so excited to announce that he has been accepted!  You can see his face if you click on Teams>Pier 31 line-up.

That means Matt is heading to Geneva Switzerland to work with his team on the following topic.

“Often there is a need for the rapid deployment of robust and secure housing for humanitarian relief. At the same time many natural disasters create enormous amounts of debris. It’s removal has high priority as it hinders humanitarian help. Currently tents and temporary shelters are transported as needed but could 3D printed technologies replace or supplement it? Could 3D printing be used for further use cases in refugee camps?”

Good luck Matt!

One of the goals of the STEMarts Lab@The PASEO is to bring international opportunities like this to the Taos community. Next year we will nominate more artists to apply so if you are interested please contact us.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: STEMArts Workshop & Pre-PASEO Pop-Up

Original post 8.8.2015 by Dr. Nettrice Gaskins via Musings of a Renagade Futurist

AR Virtual Sounding Space: Testing the technology at the Couse-Sharp site.

As part of the upcoming The PASEO art festival, I visited Taos, NM and worked with local youth on an interactive art installation. My arrival kicked off the STEMarts Lab @ The PASEO programming, a series of youth workshops based at schools across the district. This week’s activities culminated with a free outdoor projection piece on the Luna Chapel on the Couse-Sharp Historic Site (see above). I was inspired by the Native American artifacts that were used in paintings during the late 1850s. For example, the authentic painted ceramic tiles embedded in the Couse Studio fireplace reminded me of ancient Mimbres pottery, which was the main subject of a ISEA2012 Albuquerque workshop I co-facilitated.

Authentic painted tiles

Elder Marie A. Reyna, Executive Director of the Oo-Oonah Art and Education Center helped recruit youth from the Taos Pueblo to attend the workshop. As a result of her, Karin Moulton’s and Agnes Chavez’s efforts, an ethnically diverse group of participants showed up to learn about the Electrofunk Mixtape: An AR Virtual Sounding Space. The goal of the workshop was to teach physical computing and video projection mapping to Taos youth, as well as to engage ethnically diverse students through culturally responsive teaching.

The STEMArts Workshop at Taos Academy

During the 1970s and 80s, a genre emerged that evolved the programming of electronic devices to make funk-y sounds. This genre was/is called electrofunk. The workshop took the electronic programming aspect of the genre and combined it with the mixtape, which is a compilation of songs recorded onto any audio format. To this I added the exploration of culturally (and environmentally) relevant outdoor art installations (i.e., Bert Benally and Ai Weiwei).

Bert Benally's installation Pull of the Moon, part of Navajo TIME 2014.

The idea of mixing different sounds and images using electronics was introduced to the participants and they spent the first day brainstorming and trying out different materials and methods. The goal was for them to learn and practice new skills, learn how to communicate and work together in teams. In other words: forming, storming, norming and performing.

One of the brainstorming sessions.

Hailey leads the group who learns how to solder wires to a small prototype breadboard.

The participants were really interested in using the sound glove, so I wanted them to explore how they might use one in an interactive art installation. The glove converts colors to musical notes. One group used it to identify the notes for a color-based project that could be played by the glove wearer. They spent time “playing” colors with the glove and composing music using real instruments to play the same notes.

Raymond uses the glove and Justis composes music using an electric guitar. Michael and Paseo assistant director Agnes Chavez look on.

The second day was more focused and participants worked on projects for The Paseo art installation such as soldering electronic components for the sound glove, creating sculptures using wire and colored tissue paper that will light up in the dark, and using Figure to compose songs. Figure is an iOS mobile application that allows users to create songs using different patterns from electronic devices such as the Roland TR-808, which was used in electrofunk music.

Raymond tins the tips of the wires using solder.

Emmett solders a prototype breadboard.

At the site for the final installation there is a “rock house” and a short rock wall that gave me the idea of creating electroluminescent “rocks” that respond to sounds. The youth took this idea and ran with it, using chicken wire and colored tissue paper. Later, I will create electronics (and even more electronics) to make the colored objects light up and interact with sounds.


Hailey, Justis and Kyonna use chicken wire and tissue papier-mâché to make colored rocks.

On the third day we wrapped up the projects and I taught the participants how to use Magic Music Visuals to generate different image patterns that respond to sounds. Each participant was asked to select an image to use for the Pre-Paseo event at the Couse-Sharp site. I was impressed by the group’s hard work even though I knew they would rather play (or take longer breaks).

The Pre-PASEO Pop-Up Event

Later that day, the Taos community showed up for the ‘pop-up’ and I set up the laptop to project images (music visuals) on the outside walls of the Couse-Sharp Luna chapel. I used art/images created by the youth during the workshop and a feature in Magic Music Visuals that generates abstract visual patterns using live video.

Raymond tests out Magic.

The music was provided by local DJ Oliver and the event was covered by local news. The youth showed up with their families and some of the workshop participants helped test the software. Then, something really interesting happened. After introductions were made, native youth demonstrated what they had learned in the workshop. I stepped back and let them take over the VJing duties. I encouraged the audience to join in and the youth facilitated their participation.

Workshop participants VJ the event.

Taos Pueblo elder Marie A. Reyna also participated and she spoke. This was one of the highlights of the event.


Of course there were challenges but, overall, the youth workshop and kick-off event was successful. During the workshop, I saw the five essential elements of culturally responsive teaching: developing a knowledge base about cultural diversity, including ethnic and cultural diversity content in the curriculum; demonstrating caring and building learning communities; communicating with ethnically diverse students; and responding to ethnic diversity in the delivery of instruction.

Group photo with me and Agnes Chavez.

It touched my heart to see elders and families from the Taos Pueblos show up (early) for the culminating event. In many ways, the exposure to culture, technology and art transformed the youth. The Taos community could see the learning demonstrated when the participants VJed the pop-up event.

Kalani creates designs using colored tissue paper.

Kalani's image on the Luna chapel wall. Liam's digital art is on the far left.

One of the youngest participants went from literally hiding under a table to leading the VJ activity during the pop-up event. When her images were projected on the Luna chapel wall I encouraged her to tell her grandmother who I had met at the Pueblo. Another youth was very interested in the live video capture feature of Magic Music Visuals. Towards the end of the event, she experimented with software as DJ Oliver wrapped up his set.

Kyonna uses the design on her T-shirt to create a music visual pattern.

Kyonna's music visual pattern.

In many ways, this workshop demonstrated techno-vernacular creativity and culturally responsive teaching, which is based on the assumption that when (STEAM) knowledge and skills are situated within the lived experiences and frames of reference of students, they are more personally meaningful, have higher interest appeal, and are learned more easily and thoroughly (Gay, 2000). As a result, the academic achievement of ethnically diverse students will improve when they are taught through their own cultural and experiential filters (Au & Kawakami, 1994; Foster, 1995; Gay, 2000; Hollins, 1996; Kleinfeld, 1975; Ladson-Billings, 1994, 1995).


Au, K. H., & Kawakami, A. J. (1994). Cultural congruence in instruction. In E. R. Hollins, J. E. King, & W. C. Hayman (Eds.), Teaching diverse populations: Formulating a knowledge base (pp. 5-23). Albany: State University of New York Press.

Foster, M. (1995). African American teachers and culturally relevant pedagogy. In J. A. Banks & C.A.M. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (pp. 570-581). New York: Macmillan.

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Hollins, E. R. (1996). Culture in school learning: Revealing the deep meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kleinfeld, J. (1975). Effective teachers of Eskimo and Indian students. School Review, 83(2), 301-344.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American children. San Francisco: JosseyBass.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465-491.

Paseo POP-Up: Artist Nettrice Gaskins Brings Electrofunk Mixtape to Taos!

Electrofunk Mixtape - TA Oo-oonah Crew

The ELECTROFUNK MIXTAPE Taos Academy & Oo-oonah Art Center Crew gearing-up for a day of INNOVATION – with Dr. Nettrice Gaskins & STEMarts Lab’s Agnes Chavez! #STEMartsLab #ThePASEO2015

Haley #TSJ

The PASEO 2015: Bring on the Electrofunk!

What do Electrofunk, Pueblo culture and Taos teenagers have in common?

The answer. Nettrice Gaskins!

I met Nettrice for the STEMarts@International Symposium of Electronic Arts(ISEA): Machine Wilderness event which took place in Albuquerque in 2012. We invited her to teach her Augmented Reality (AR) Mural workshop at Explora and I was blown away by AR technology and how she juxtaposed it with painting and an exploration of cultural mimbres.

While scouting around for new media artists to bring to the STEMarts@The PASEO youth program, I called Nettrice up to see what she was up to these days. I was thrilled to hear about her Electrofunk musical gloves that you slip on and play sounds with your fingertips, converting colors to musical notes. Students use spatially augmented reality and physical computing to explore cultural artifacts to inspire the imagery.

That’s what ten students from Taos Academy and Taos Pueblo will be doing when Nettrice comes to teach Electrofunk Mixtape: A Virtual Sounding Space.

Her advanced 3-day, 21-hour workshop culminates with a video mapping projection on the Luna Chapel at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site property on August 6th.

Yes you heard right. Video mapping on to the historic adobe chapel, and DJ Oliver orchestrating the electrofunk!

This is all for our PASEO fundraiser to welcome our first PASEO artist, so mark your calendar and spread the word.

– Agnes