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STEMarts Lab

Space Messengers

Space Messengers is a large-scale projection where the collective  ‘space’ messages and voices of youth participants are live mixed and projected along with their animated silhouettes on to buildings at international festivals.

We are living in an extraordinary time for scientific and technological advancements that are expanding our understanding of the universe. At the same time we are faced with the challenges of climate change and species extinction. Through our BioSTEAM International exchange program we collaborate with youth around the world to raise awareness to the importance of scientific literacy and the ethical impacts of new technologies on nature and society. Our hope is to inspire our youth and communities to become more informed global citizens and stewards of the interplanetary universe that is now our home. Exploring at the intersection of the arts, humanities and philosophy with science and technology we contemplate and re-imagine our humanity through this immersive art experience.

Space Messengers visualizes data. The installation generates and projects text messages collected from students that participated in an international youth exchange between Oerias Portugal and Taos New Mexico. Using a custom-designed platform we call the Space Board, students co-write messages communicating the science they learned and sharing their thoughts and wishes for a sustainable interplanetary future. These messages are seen floating on the wall along with interactive video-captured silhouettes of students from around the world.

Space Messengers is participatory. The live audience can tweet or text their own messages which appear on the wall in real time during the event. A virtual reality platform will include a live stream of the projection from the event.  Through this mixed reality experience participants at the site or at home where ever they are can become part of the experience  radiating their space messages out to the world!

Launch Date:  Festival de Ciencia e Arte (FICA), Oeiras, Portugal, October 12-17, 2021 Contact us if you would like to bring Space Messengers to your festival or event.

This project is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. Thanks also to our sponsors at the U.S. Embassy of Portugal, Taos Community Foundation, LANL Foundation and the MAE Foundation.

STEMarts Lab Team

Lead Artists: Agnes Chavez/Creative Producer and Artist, Markus Dorninger/OMAi team/Projection artist, and Roy MacDonald, creative coder. Sound design: David Novack. Interdisciplinary speakers/facilitators: Dr. Steven Goldfarb, University of Melbourne on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN; Dr. Nicole Lloyd-Ronning, LANL astrophysicist; Steve Tamayo, Lakota Cultural Specialist; Catarina Pombo Nabais, Philosophy of Science/University of Lisbon; Frank Tavares, NASA Communication Specialist; Ali Guarnero Lunas, NASA Aerospace Engineer. Curriculum  Advisors: Shane Wood, Quarknet staff; Dr. Greg Cajete, Native-American Author/cultural specialist. Visual Program Designer: Estacia Huddleston. Multi-media/Tech development and support: OMAi/Tagtool team/Josef Dorninger and Matthias Fritz;  Enrico Trujillo, University of New Mexico. STEAM Ambassadors: Dania Loya, New Mexico; Joana D’Arc Moreira, Brazil; Amina Abdrazakova, Canada; Amelia Martinez and Esie Clayton, Taos New Mexico

BioSTEAM International


The COVID pandemic has deeply affected our educational institutions and how we relate to each other. Students and teachers have been required to work/study from home in isolation which created an urgent need for innovative ways to interact, teach and learn online. Travel bans and heightened health security measures led to cancellations of international and local field trips, along with opportunities for intercultural exchange. At the same time, COVID has brought to the forefront the connection between the destruction of earth’s natural resources and wildlife diversity and the rise of pandemic diseases. It is not a coincidence that the rise in wildlife-borne diseases has occurred alongside increasing human encroachment on nature and a rapidly changing climate.

It is more urgent than ever for our youth to be informed and inspired to respond to the complex challenges of the 21st century with empathy and humanity. Students need opportunities to develop relationships with other students from diverse geo-cultural backgrounds with more focus on the humanitarian and ecological challenges of our time. This climate is what inspired BioSTEAM International.

What we do

BioSTEAM International is an international youth exchange program that facilitates communication and collaboration between youth leaders around the world through the STEMarts Curriculum Tool platform. The goal is to encourage intercultural respect, creative expression and scientific literacy as students collaborate on a sci-art installation that is presented at festivals in the partner country.

How we do it

We connect students in the New Mexico with schools in participating countries through a partnership with U.S. Embassies. Our first partners are the U.S Embassy and Consulate in Portugal and the U.S Consulate of Guadalajara Mexico. More countries will be added as the project evolves.

Students in partner countries participate in workshops, design challenges and collaborations led by artists and interdisciplinary experts.

For the virtual workshops, students are paired with their team in the partner country and meet weekly to work on the hands-on STEAM activities designed for the project. These sessions are facilitated by our trained STEAM Ambassadors who are alumni of the U.S. Youth Ambassador program and STEMarts Lab Alumni. All students communicate and collaborate as ambassadors representing their communities and their countries.

We work closely with the classroom teachers to help guide the students through the various projects we offer. The STEMarts Curriculum Tool will have all the workshop videos and resources to support the students. This project allows students to work from home or classroom. As a culminating event, the students communicate the science they learn by contributing to a sci-art installation that is part of festivals around the world.

Our first BioSTEAM International project is called Space Messengers, and launches in the Spring 2021.


  • Develop interpersonal communication and ambassador skills through an international collaboration.
  • Learn how to create participatory art informed by science and designed to share with your community.
  • Collaborate with students from other countries and develop intercultural understanding and respect.
  • Learn about cutting edge science and environmental/space policies to develop scientific literacy, expand understanding of our connection to nature and the universe, and develop environmental stewardship.
  • Become part of a collaborative international sci-art installation that will tour the world!


  • Offer an exciting real world activity for your students that is easy to implement and aligned with the standards.
  • Develop partnerships with teachers in different countries to share ideas.
  • Become part of an international BioSTEAM experience with your students!


Contact us to learn more.

STEMarts Lab + KERNEL X Light Art Festival

STEMarts Lab has partnered with the KERNEL X- Light Art Festival in Monza, Italy, to connect students there with students in New Mexico, to participate in an audiovisual 3D mapping onto the architecture of Residenza Ponte dei Leoni in the city of Monza.

KERNEL X is the first Italian light festival of international interest to take place in Monza. Between June and November 2021, audiovisual 3D mapping shows and interactive, light and sound installations will transform and enhance the historical and cultural context of the city center through an emotional experience capable of involving the interest and participation of a transversal audience.                   

The light festival will also host audiovisual mapping projections developed with the involvement of emerging artists, students of Italian and international academies and elementary and middle school children. Marcello Arosio, Art Director of AreaOden and the Kernel X Festival says, “We’re very excited to connect students from Italy and New Mexico by giving them the opportunity to become the protagonists of a collaborative video mapping show, where they’ll share their own vision of the future through fantasy, color and the freest interpretation of architectural shapes.”

What’s the Challenge?

For this design challenge the teachers from Raiberti plexus of Monza and the teachers of New Mexico schools are invited to engage their students in a simple and fun drawing activity onto a printed diagram of the building’s facade that captures their vision for a sustainable future. The student drawings from both regions are submitted to the video mapping artists in Monza who will produce a creative reinterpretation of Residenza Ponte dei Leoni on July 2 – 11, from 9:30 p.m on a rotating schedule.     

To make this easy for teachers, STEMarts Lab has created an Activity Guide that provides links and resources on how to engage students in “Futures Thinking” to inspire their drawings. Futures Thinking tells us that the future is not something that will happen to you tomorrow but is being created by everyone today. It is a literacy skill like reading and writing that allows people to better understand the role of the future in what they see and do. Futures Thinking is a mindset and we are all Future Imaginers!

Stay tuned for documentation of the final video mapping of student work at the KERNEL X Festival July 2-11, 2021.

BioMachine Design Challenge

The BioSTEAM International program encourages students to design their future, now. It is more urgent than ever for our youth to be informed and inspired to respond to the complex challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the recent rise of pandemic diseases.  We provide diverse and creative tools for teachers to engage youth in sci-art interventions at the intersection of arts-humanities & science, bioethics & human ecology, nature/ecophilosophy & technology. Students learn from interdisciplinary and intercultural experts who share their knowledge to inspire youth to connect to and design with nature, and imagine a better world. Learn more
The BioSTEAM Design Challenge is a yearly competition. The 2019 theme was to design an imaginative BIO-MACHINE inspired by pollinators, to explore the topic of biodiversity loss and pollinator decline and how it is important to our community, our food security and the health of our planet. Middle and high school students from Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque participated in the BioMachine challenge.

The teachers were given the online BioSTEAM Curriculum Tool with a biomimicry curriculum derived from our guest BioSTEAM artist, Ana MacArthur, whose installation at Taos Land Trust called Pollinator Concentrator, inspired this design challenge. Teachers had to find the time amidst COVID and online learning to integrate the BioSTEAM activity into their core curriculum. Each teacher designed a unique curriculum that integrated the challenge into their subject area i.e. math, science, art, etc.

The BioMachine Design Challenge received a total of 197 student entries which included a drawing and a design statement. The jurors were Ana MacArthur, and Andrea Polli, sci-artist and founder of STEAM NM.

The Best of Show prize was $300 and the seven category prizes were $100 each. A $100 Educator Engagement Award went to the teacher who engaged the most students with a comprehensive curriculum design.

The Educator Engagement Award went to Justine Carryer of Taos High School for most students engaged through a comprehensive curriculum design entitled ‘Applied knowledge of mathematics and its relationship to the natural and biological world.

The School Engagement Recognition went to TAFT Middle School in Albuquerque New Mexico for best school-wide engagement through a comprehensive curriculum design entitled ‘Honeycomb Design and Sustainable Material.

Special thanks to our OUR SPONSORS that made the BioSTEAM project and BioMachine Design Challenge possible.

U.S. Youth Ambassador opportunity

New Mexico middle and high school students! Check out this opportunity.

The Experiment Digital: STEAM Discovery Lab brings together youth from the U.S. and Egypt for a fully funded winter virtual exchange from February 8 until March 21 2021. If you are interested in building your leadership skills while also learning more about topics in science, math and the arts, this could be a great opportunity for you! You will also build connections and understanding with people from all over the US and Egypt, giving you a chance to develop relationships and learn together. Take a look here for more information and to apply.

Priority Application due December 10, 2020; Final admissions deadline is January 8, 2021.

(x)trees installation and STEAM educational tour: Guadalajara, Mexico 2018

New Mexico artist/educator, Agnes Chavez and projection artist, Joe Abraham Dean were invited to project the (x)trees in Guadalajara as part of the U.S. Arts Envoy Sister City initiative. (x)trees is a video projection that will generate a forest of dynamically growing trees on to the Guadalajara Cathedral. The tree branches are generated from messages collected from participants of the Sister City initiative between Albuquerque and Guadalajara, capturing the collective spirit of the two countries through text messages. Branch by branch the trees form and the messages from each branch are displayed for a fleeting moment. The (x)trees represent our universal connection to each other through nature and technology.

Sister Cities International hosted its first-ever U.S.-Mexico Sister Cities Mayors Summit in Guadalajara February 15-16, 2018. Designed to promote grassroots citizen diplomacy and the concept of cross-border, city-to-city collaboration in the 21st century, the summit addressed themes related to immigration, innovation, economic integration, trade, and security. Agnes and Joe Dean projected the (x)trees for the summit luncheon as a way to underscore the power of art and technology to act as cross-cultural communication tools and binding agents between cities.

Agnes shared her work and STEAM initiatives in a tour to high schools and universities throughout the city organized by the Consulate General of Guadalajara. Follow (x)trees in Guadalajara on Facebook!

Agnes Chavez is the founder of the STEMarts Lab and cofounder of The Paseo Project outdoor arts festival in Taos.

Post by Janet Web. Beyond Taos adapted for this site.

STEMarts (x)change 2020




American Corner@University of Lisbon Faculty of Letters, Space to be transformed!

Artist, Agnes Chavez, founder of the STEMarts Lab is starting a new collaboration with the University of Lisbon Faculty of Letters. The vision is to create a synergistic collaboration between creative individuals/educational institutions in New Mexico and the American Corner@FLUL in Lisbon through transdisciplinary educational projects and international exchange. Through this collaboration we will design exciting transdisciplinary projects that focus on the intersection of art, science, technology and applied humanities to explore and communicate participatory solutions to socio-environmental design challenges.

The STEMarts transdisciplinary approach will be achieved by bringing together academic and non-academic participants in the creation process, toward the common goal of finding innovative solutions and/ or raising awareness to a social challenge.

The goal is to collaborate with American Corners@FLUL to design a pilot STEMarts (x)change project that will;

  • Integrate art, science and technology into the real world social topics explored by students in the Cultural Creative program to expand the learning beyond the classroom.
  • Facilitate exchange visits with creative partners in New Mexico/Lisbon to share strategies, knowledge and the latest research and innovations.
  • Engage the students and general public in the process of investigation and exploration through a culminating immersive and participatory installation and a real world community outreach component.

TISA kids going to CERN!


I am excited to announce that the TISA class that I have been working with since 4th grade on the Projecting Particles (particle physics + art + culture) project will be visiting CERN on their 8th grade graduating Europe trip. Most of the kids have participated in the annual Projecting Particles workshop. On the science side that includes learning particle physics from CERN physicist, Dr. Steven Goldfarb, Quarknet staff/physics teacher Shane Wood and/or LANL astrophysicist, Dr. Nicole Lloyd-Ronning. On the art side they have learned projection art making from Austrian artist, Markus Dorninger (MAKI), using his amazing #Tagtool app, Steve Tamayo for the Lakota cosmology worldview iteration, and myself as the artist/education director that weaves it all together into an immersive sci-art learning experience.

To kick off their exciting European trip that will take them through Switzerland and Italy they will come to CERN where Dr. Steven Goldfarb and myself will be there to give them a personal tour. Steven will be showing them where he works at the ATLAS Experiment and facilitate the CERN Lab tours.

I will be taking them to visit the CERN Data Center where I have been working for the past 3 years with a team to design and build a permanent installation called Fluidic Data. This 42′ high installation visualizes data from the Large Hadron Collider through a play of water and light. Students will learn how Fluidic Data works to visualize data and what is the symbology used to visualize the 26 particles including the famous Higgs Boson.

Evening shot of Fluidic Data, 13m high installation in the stairwell of the CERN Data Center

.The CERN TISA students will also visit the IdeaSquare@CERN, a very cool space whose mission is ‘Connecting curious minds to accelerate ideas through collaboration, R&D prototyping, and experimental innovation.’ This is where I did most of my prototyping in their maker space and where I met Dr. Umut Kose, physicist and Project Associate at CERN Neutrino Platform who does his exciting work on neutrinos in this space. Umut was a co-creater of the Fluidic Data installation. Students will meet the Fluidic Data team and see for themselves how the CERN Data Center collects and redistributes data from the four experiments at CERN: ATLAS, ALICE, LHCb and CMS


This school year 2020, we will be working with the CERN TISA kids once again with special visits and workshops. Yesterday Dr. Nicole Lloyd-Ronning, an astrophysicist at LANL, facilitated a fascinating hands-on workshop that answered student questions about supernovae, black holes, neutron stars, the fabric of space/time, and why it matters. Students did interactive activities on dark matter detection and learned how we get information from light, playing with invisible UV ink. Special thanks to Nicole who is a great teacher and a wonderful role model for the girls!

Student painting the galaxies with UV light reactive invisible ink

I am so impressed with what these students have learned about the fundamental nature of the universe through particle physics, art and culture, and why it matters. Our hope is that experiencing the universality and interconnections in nature will build empathy and tolerance for each other and for all species on this earth toward becoming more compassionate caretakers of our planet and our universe. Special thanks to Megan Avina Bowers, the TISA teacher that helped create the curriculum and guided the students in the first 3 years of development. It would never have happened without her commitment and creativity. She always found time for our intensive multi-day workshops. And special thanks to the Taos Integrated School of the Arts that as a school supports this unconventional teaching approach where we turn the cafeteria into an immersive interactive learning environment!

Projecting Particles presentation to parents and all students to see what the CERN TISA kids had learned and created.

For those interested in supporting these students and their exciting trip to CERN they are starting to raise money now for their Spring 2021 graduating trip. For more information please contact Sally Greywolf, the teacher that is now organizing the trip and spearheading the CERN TISA project. 575-758-7755 or

PASEO 2018: Indigenous Cosmology Meets Particle Physics Youth Workshop

Indigenous Cosmology Meets Particle Physics

This three day youth workshop combined native science, western science and the arts to explore the universe. The workshop was part of the STEMarts@The Paseo Youth Program and took place at the Taos Day School as our first inter-school collaboration with TISA (Taos Integrated School of the Arts). In this workshop we brought together native and western world views through art.  The goal was to expose students to radical new science concepts in the field of particle physics while emphasizing the importance of indigenous cosmology and storytelling as an integrated worldview. Twenty two 5th and 6th grade students from the Taos Pueblo Day School and five “teen leads” from TISA who had taken the workshop before participated in the sci-art experience. The workshop culminated with a tipi projection installation in the gym of the Taos Day School and the final tipi installation will be shown again for The PASEO festival on September 14, 15, 2018.

Particle Physics and Astrophysics

Through a virtual visit with CERN physicist, Dr. Steven Goldfarb, students learned about the Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator in Geneva Switzerland and how it is used to discover particles that are key to our understanding of the universe. Shane Wood, physics teacher and Quarknet fellow lead the hands-on physics activities developed by Quarknet. Nicole Lloyd- Ronning, an astrophysicist at Los Alamos National Lab made a guest visit to deepen student understanding of the cosmos through a hands on activity exploring Feynman diagrams.

Traditional Arts and Games

Lakota cultural specialist, Steve Tamayo, led the building of a Lakota Tipi, weaving of a dreamcatcher in the tipi and told stories that through metaphor explored the cosmological observations through traditional arts practices. The students created Feynman diagrams combined with petroglyph-inspired symbols which they painted on hide.  They participated in opening and closing ceremonies.

Guest visit from Dr. Greg Cajete, Santa Clara author and professor of Native American studies

Dr. Greg Cajete visited the classroom to share stories from different tribes. In the workshop students were encouraged to artistically explore their unique cultural perspectives.  Guided by the curriculum research of Dr. Greg Cajete and his book, Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence, we encouraged youth  to imagine a new worldview that combines the advances of the scientific method and technological innovations with a life-sustaining ecology that is participatory and in balance with nature.

New Media Art and Technology.

Students learned to use an iPad animation tool called Tagtool to express their new understandings about the universe. New media artist, Agnes Chavez taught the kids Tagtool to transfer their newly created stories into animated electronic projections. They learned to design creations for the parent performance and had a hand at live painting on the tipi. Tagtool and projection art added a fun and innovative tool to explore.

Inter-school Collaboration

TISA students had the experience of teaching what they had learned from past Tagtool workshops, demonstrating animation techniques, file saving and  projection tools. It was an opportunity for these students to hone their leadership skills. This led to great learning experiences for both schools and as a result we plan to coordinate regular inter-school activities to continue to develop those bonds. TISA lent their projectors and iPads to Taos Day School and Megan Avina Bowers, Arts Coordinator and 5th grade teacher at TISA participated in the curriculum development and workshop overseeing the engagement of TISA students. Marilyn Trujillo and Leroy Martinez provided feedback and insights for improving the continued collaboration and we are all looking forward to future inter-school activities.

Future Activities

On September 13, 14, 15  a small group of the workshop students from Taos Day School and TISA will gather gather to assist the Paseo artist/teachers in putting up the tipi installation with student work for The PASEO festival and for the pre-festival PASEO Youth Day in the Space Cloud. Students will learn to be part of an international production for a festival and they will perform with Steve Tamayo as he engages the audience in making a Dreamcatcher inside the tipi.

This Paseo workshop was sponsored by the LANL Foundation in partnership with Taos Integrated School of the Arts, Quarknet, ATLAS Experiment at CERN and The Paseo Project.

Learn more about the Projecting Particles project.

STEMarts@The PASEO 2017 Youth Program in Full Swing


September 12, 2017

STEMarts Lab enters its fourth year designing the youth and education program for The Paseo Festival. The STEMarts@The PASEO youth program is a series of educational workshops that go into all Taos County schools, allowing students to collaborate with PASEO festival artists exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in their art making process. For the festival, an artist is placed into every middle and high school in Taos. Teacher and students work with the artist up to one week prior and then perform/install their work live at The PASEO event.

Students learn valuable STEAM skills through creative expression, social practice and collaboration, and are empowered as their creations become part of a real world event. We believe that the challenge and potential of STEAM education is for all students to have access to the latest technologies and 21st century thinking, especially in rural areas with limited access. The PASEO is the perfect platform for local students to use these tools to play, explore and imagine a better world.

For the 2017 PASEO Party on the Plaza interim event we built a unique STEAM Monster Design Challenge around the work of Paseo featured artist, Motomichi Nakamura. This Taos county call for middle and high school student submissions is based on Motomichi’s Tiny People and Giant Monster series in which he incorporates the monster theme as a mythological character to explore environmental issues.

Through an online STEMarts Design Tool, workshops and school performances students will have the opportunity to design a STEAM Monster which will be displayed on our website. Winners of the challenge will have their monsters projected on to buildings around the plaza alongside the artist’s work.

Motomichi says, “I believe my imagination was influenced by the Japanese Shinto, the native animistic religion of Japan that’s based on the idea that all things in nature are inhabited by spirits that can sometimes become supernatural monsters. My idea for PASEO is that the various monsters will come visit Taos from various places just for the night and play around. Also, I always like the idea that the digital projection doesn’t leave any physical trace after the installation which kind of reminds me of ghosts, spirits or mythical creatures.”

Based on Motomichi’s work with 2D animation and character design, the participants are creating their own original monsters to submit by September 15, 2017. All the entries will be showcased on the Paseo Project website and the best entries will be curated and projected on to plaza buildings by Motomichi for the Party on the Plaza event. Students are invited to assist the artist with the projection installation stations to learn the technology behind projection mapping  and explain the project to the audience.

STEMarts@ThePaseo is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by the Martin Foundation, the Nina E. Nilssen Scholarship Fund, US Bank, GarageCube and Americorps VISTA.

The Paseo Project is a 501c-3 nonprofit whose mission is to transform art through community and community through art. Its board of directors includes Joleen Montoya, Liz Neely, Morten Nilssen, Elizabeth Crittenden-Palacios, Molly Robertson, and Janet Webb. Co-directors are Agnes Chavez and J. Matthew Thomas.