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STEMarts International

Why 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 need to develop scientific literacy to make informed decisions concerning the impact of science and technology on our every day lives.

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 STEMarts International.

What we do

STEMarts 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 STEMarts International project is called Space Messengers, and launches in the Spring 2021.


  • Develop interpersonal communication and ambassador skills through an international collaboration.
  • Learn about cutting edge science and environmental/space policies to develop scientific literacy.
  • Expand understanding of our connection to nature and the universe to develop environmental stewardship.
  • 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.
  • Become part of a collaborative international sci-art installation that will tour the world!
  • Have the opportunity to apply for apprenticeships for STEAM events.


  • 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 a certified STEMarts International teacher and receive stipends to participate in more exchanges.


Contact us to learn more.

Taos Pueblo Day School Returns to The Paseo with Native-Inspired Monsters

September 12, 2017

You could hear a pin drop while Richard Archuleta spoke to the 30 + kids at Taos Pueblo Day School.  Richard shared educational stories about pollution and stressed the  children’s important role as environmental stewards. This was part of a special STEMarts @The Paseo workshop led by Megan Avina Bowers as Paseo volunteer teacher from TISA (Taos Integrated School of the Arts), Leroy Martinez and Marilyn Trujillo, the 5th and 6th grade Day School teachers. Students learned about this years Paseo STEAM Monster Design Challenge and designed native-inspired monsters created with markers, beads and feathers.

The monsters are inspired by Paseo’s featured artist this year, Motomichi Nakamura.  We shared with the students how the artist is inspired by Japanese Shintu and environmental and cultural explorations of monsters from his homeland in Japan. Richard Archuleta shared with students how Taos Pueblo has its own cultural monsters and encouraged them to be creative and imaginative. They complied!

The student entries will be showcased on The Paseo Project website and winning monsters will be curated and projected by  Motomichi on to Plaza buildings for the grand PASEO Party on the Plaza event taking place September 23, 2017  7-11pm. The students representing the participating schools are invited to attend the event to learn about projection mapping techniques and interact with the audience.

Taos Pueblo and Native American artists from around the country have been participating in The PASEO since year one when Santa Fe artist, Will Wilson brought his installation, The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) project. Last year Claireen Espinoza’s class worked with Dine artist, Bert Benally, to create an LED interactive sand painting on Civic Plaza Drive for The PASEO 2016 festival. In the same year Taos Pueblo multi media artist, Robert Mirabal, offered Star Runner, a special fundraiser in the dome in collaboration with 360-degree interstellar visuals by Joe Abraham Dean of Lumenscape.

This year in addition to the Taos Day School Monster entries, we have a special performance by Taos Pueblo dancer, CJ Bernal and Ballet Taos. This edgy multimedia genre-smashing new dance troupe in town will be part of the Silent Disco installation. Not to be missed!


PASEO Party on the Plaza

Saturday September 23, 2017


Taos Plaza

Taos,  New Mexico


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.



What happens when a physicist from CERN, a Lakota water protector, a Tewa educator and a new media artist meet with 26 Taos fourth and fifth graders?

Perhaps, opposing worldviews will converge to create a new balance in the universe!

Reposted from Janet Webb,
Taos, NM, April 2017

“Lakota Cosmology Meets Particle Physics” is a youth workshop at Taos Integrated School for the Arts (TISA) organized by their new STEAM Lab@TISA coordinator, artist-educator, Agnes Chavez. On Monday, April 10, students from Megan Bowers Avina’s TISA classroom will spend the morning with Dr. Steven Goldfarb (CERN Physicist) and Steve Tamayo (Lakota Cultural Specialist and Water Protector) exploring the mystery of Dark Matter through the lens of two worldviews. Megan explains, “Agnes and I have been working with the TISA students for weeks preparing them with creative activities on Dark Matter and native science-western science worldviews. The kids are incredibly talented, compassionate, and have developed insight on the possibilities of what makes up Dark Matter, even impressing the scientist from CERN with their theories.”

The two-day workshop is part of the Projecting Particles Project, introduced during The PASEO 2014 – which also included a virtual collaboration with Dr. Goldfarb and the ATLAS Experiment at CERN. Now Dr. Goldfarb will appear in person to explain the Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator in the world, and how it is used to discover particles that are the key to our understanding of the universe. With Standing Rock water protector, Steve Tamayo, students will learn the indigenous way of using science to relate to the physical world. The students will participate in the building of a Lakota tipi as they hear metaphorical stories that share the cosmological observations of indigenous peoples. Guided by the research and wisdom of Dr. Cajete, the interdisciplinary team will encourage youth to imagine a new worldview that combines science, technological and life-sustaining ecology that is in balance with nature.

With artist Agnes Chavez, students will transfer their newly created stories into animated electronic graphics to be projected inside of the tipi, creating an installation that they will share with the community at a live performance on April 11. Chavez will be assisted by three Taos High School students, all of whom have participated in past Projecting Particles workshops where they learned the Tagtool animation tool from Paseo artist and Tagtool app developer, Markus Dorninger.

The public will be able view a video documenting “Lakota Cosmology Meets Particle Physics” in three different roundtable discussions  – in Taos, Espanola and Santa Fe.

Quick View:
April 10-11 – Lakota Cosmology Meets Particle Physics: Exploring Dark Matter
Youth Workshop for TISA students at Taos Youth and Family Center (limited press passes available)

April 11, 7:00 – 9:00pm – Live public viewing of student projection inside Lakota tipi
Taos Youth and Family Center, 407 Paseo del Cañon East, Taos

April 12, 6:00pm – Public Roundtable Discussion with Video of TISA workshop
Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street, Taos

April 13, noon-2:00pm – Public Roundtable Discussion with Video of TISA workshop
Northern New Mexico Community College, 2921 N Paseo de Onate, Española

April 13, 6:00pm – Public Roundtable Discussion with Video of TISA workshop
Biocultura, 1505 Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe

About the participants of “Lakota Cosmology Meets Particle Physics”

Dr. Steve Goldfarb is a physicist from the University of Melbourne, working on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN in Geneva Switzerland. He is active in education and outreach, is the webmaster for the ATLAS public web pages, co-chair of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, on-site coordinator of the REU Summer Student and Research Semester Abroad programs for American undergraduates at CERN, and advisory board member for Quarknet.

Steve Tamayo is based in Omaha Nebraska. He draws upon his family history as a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe. His fine arts education (BFA from Singe Gleska University) along with his cultural upbringing have shaped him as an artist, historian, storyteller and dancer. Steve provides activities during his residencies that include art and regalia making, drumming, powwow dance demonstrations and lectures on the history, symbolism and meaning behind the Native customs and traditions. Most recently Steve led workshops with kids at Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Dr. Greg Cajete is a Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. Dr. Cajete has authored five books: Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, (Kivaki Press, 1994); Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model, (Kivaki Press, 1999); Spirit of the Game: Indigenous Wellsprings (2004) , A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living, and Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence (Clearlight Publishers, 1999 and 2000).

Agnes Chavez is a new media artist and educator and co-director of The Paseo, working at the intersection of art, science, technology and social practice. She partners with scientists and programmers to explore our relationship to nature and technology through data visualization, sound and projections. Her recent installation, Origination Point, visualized the origins of matter and the Higgs Field, informed by a research stay at the ATLAS Experiment at CERN in 2015. Agnes is Co-Director of The PASEO, the outdoor participatory arts festival which brings projection, performance and installation art to the streets of Taos, New Mexico. In 2009 she founded the STEMarts Lab, which empowers youth through STEAM workshops that integrate science, technology and new media arts through social practice.

Megan Bowers Avina Is a nationally award-winning photojournalist and artist who has lived in Taos for over 20 years. Avina is the Art’s Curriculum Coordinator at the Taos Integrated School of the Arts and fourth grade teacher. Avina strives to create a classroom atmosphere of real world issues to inspire her students to become critical thinkers and instruments of positive change in their community/world. Avina is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and is currently obtaining her Masters of Fine Arts at UNM. Avina is ecstatic to have joined forces with Chavez in bringing an amazing curriculum to the students at the Taos Integrated School of the Arts.

Thanks to sponsors TISA and a grant from the Martin Foundation, ATLAS Experiment at CERN, Harwood Museum of The Arts, Taos Youth and Family Center and Northern New Mexico Community College.

ARTAOS + TISA: Augmented Reality Mural at Ziggy’s Frozen Yogurt Shop

As part of TISA’s new STEAM Lab, Amber McCabe’s 8th grade class participated in an Augmented Reality (AR) Mural Work/Study Project providing real-world community focused learning of STEAM skills. AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world. This exciting semester long project inaugurated spring 2017 and is now open so stop by for some augmented reality and frozen yogurt!

How it Happened

Co-founders, Bowe Ellis and Steve Kennebeck are the founders of Ziggy’s, a new froyo shop in Taos (Next to Taos Java) and approached me to see if STEMarts Lab could coordinate students to paint a mural for the shop. STEMarts Lab brings artists into schools through interdisciplinary collaborations that integrate art, science, and technology through social practice. For this project, we brought in artists, Jason Rodriguez and Aya Trevino of ARTAOS who had been exploring AR technology to work with the TISA kids. They worked with Ziggy’s owners to design the interior space of the new frozen yogurt store and engaged students in the process. Students helped to design and create an Augmented Reality (AR) mural that makes the whole space interactive. By pointing your smartphone or iPad at the painted mural on the walls, animated images pop off the wall for a fun and surreal 3D experience. The main star of the mural is Ziggy, the adorable pug of owner, Bowe Ellis. Yogurt will never be the same!


STEAM Lab@TISA ‘Design Thinking’ in Action

In line with TISA’s ‘Design Thinking‘ methodology, students were involved in all aspects of the production, from visiting the space and meeting the “clients”, to developing the concept, to designing the technology that creates an augmented reality experience for visitors.  Through this project students understand the impact that art, science, and technology can have in our society and our community. The AR Mural project aligns with Core Arts standards, 21st Century standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
This project provided invaluable real world STEAM skills;

  • Business skills by working with a client to design a site specific installation (Site Visit, measurement, space planning, client communications)
  • Design and critical thinking skills to explore new approaches to image making, including designing stencils and laser cut vinyl patterns.
  • Project planning such as identifying design constraints (budget, materials, copyright, technology)
  • Learning cutting edge technology skills to create augmented reality experiences. (Define still image (trigger) criteria vs AR imagery (overlay)
  • Collaboration with UNM Digital Media facilitators, Peter Walker and Enrico Trujillo, and their art students to access advanced technologies to realize their ideas.i.e. 3-D animation and green screen video making.
  • Building of scale model of site to consider floor, ceiling, counters, safe zones, etc.

For year two of the AR Mural project, students will have the opportunity to become AR Technology teachers  to new students who will create changing animations for the mural. The STEAM Lab@TISA is all about teaching and modeling collaboration and in this spirit TISA will invite other schools in the community to participate providing a series of school exhibits of AR animations created by Taos county youth. Please contact us if interested.
This TISA project was made possible through a partnership with ARTAOS, Ziggy’s Yogurt Shop founders; Bowe Ellis and Steve Kennebeck, and a Paseo Project collaboration with UNM Digital Media Arts.

Augmented Reality for K-3rd graders!

TISA K-3rd grade teachers also got in on the action! Through a series of professional development sessions we trained the TISA teachers on how to use the Quiver app to delight their students with the magic of AR at an early age. Kids hacked the coloring pages to discover the trigger and overlays and then integrated them into paintings and sculptures to learn how to design with the virtual and real. The teachers shared what they learned at the Twirl Invent Event with an AR station of their own design.