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STEMarts Lab

STEMarts Apprentice Feliciana Gonzales-Mitchell: Stories from Vadito

Vadito, New Mexico Chapel

STEMarts Apprentice, Feliciana Gonzales-Mitchell, shares stories from her community of Vadito, near Peñasco in Taos County. This month she talks about how the largest fire recorded in NM history is about 40 miles from her home. 30 families of refugees from Mora, Chacon and Las Vegas are being housed in her school gym at Peñasco ISD. She also shares about her life living on a ranch in the rural community of Vadito with her horses, and reveals some good news happening in her life. Check out her blog to learn more about this traditional Hispanic village which like so many others in New Mexico are being impacted by the devastating fire.

Feliciana’s Blog:

STEMarts Apprentices Explore the Universe!

Announcing our new STEMarts Apprenticeship program, designed for women/girls from Northern New Mexico (ages 14-20) and launched in 2022 thanks to a 2-yr Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation Education Enrichment grant. Congratulations to our winners! Amelia Martinez, Dominique Vigil, Feliciana Gonzales, Megan Odom and Svetlana Backhaus. We also welcomed an congratulate Jade Rael as this year’s Apprentice mentor. This position was sponsored through the Taos Pueblo Education and Training Division Apprenticeship program for native residents of Taos County. Jade is a first year student at UCLA, participates in all the programming, and has initiated a new STEMarts Lab Podcast series which she will lead in collaboration with the apprentices.

Apprentices discover and develop their creative interests and gain valuable work skills. They experience cutting edge science and technology as part of professional STEMarts events. Apprentices become part of the international Space Messengers team, receive a $1000 stipend for the year, and customized training in STEAM areas including; programming, webdesign, XR/Metaverse design, projection mapping, data visualization, interactive design, and ArcGIS storymapping.

Our first cohort of STEMarts Apprentices just completed their first quarter and are rocking it. In this short time frame they have created their own websites and started monthly blog posts after an awesome virtual 3-day workshop led by Jennifer Case-Nevarrez, Community Learning Network (CLN), Santa Fe. They learned from John Di Ruggiero (CLN) how to use ArcGIS software to design geo-tagged StoryMaps and they have been getting up to speed on the STEMarts space-themed curriculum in preparation for Space Messengers, an international Mixed Reality traveling installation that aims to expand our relationship to the universe and our identify as planetary citizens. Next venue for Space Messengers: The PASEO Festival on September 15,16, 2022.

For the second quarter they form teams to work on their own STEAM projects and we provide the training and support they need to make it happen. Check out their websites below to see these projects evolve and to learn more about the STEMarts Apprentices in their own words.

Amelia Martinez

Dominique Vigil

Feliciana Gonzales

Megan Odom

Svetlana Backhaus

Zelo-Jade Rael

Lowrider Design Challenge

STEMarts Lab is excited to partner with Seco Live to create the Lowrider Design Challenge which complements the Low ‘N Slow exhibit, produced by Seco Live, a 501c3 building community through creativity in the little village of Arroyo Seco, New Mexico. This project is made possible with thanks to our sponsors, The Taos Revolt Giving Fund@Revolt Gallery and Seco Live.

Low ‘N Slow is a satellite exhibit that emerged from the Harwood Museum of Art exhibit: Santo Lowride: Norteño Car Culture and the Santos Tradition. It is an immersive outdoor experience for art lovers of all ages providing a multi sensory tour through the world of lowrider arts and culture in Northern New Mexico. The Lowrider exhibit is curated by the prolific voice of New Mexico artist, Toby Morfin, who is also exhibiting in the Harwood show. Taking place throughout the summer of 2021, this safe and socially distant exhibition takes visitors through every aspect of lowrider culture from a 101 guide to hydraulics and pinstriping and tattoo classes to lowrider movie cult classics and interactive community gathering experiences.

Santo Lowride: Norteño Car Culture and the Santos Tradition curated by Nicole Dial- Kay, unrolls the unique story of New Mexico’s interwoven expressions of devotional art and lowrider culture. Just as the santos artists seek a physical channel between the heavens and their daily life, the lowrider has evolved as a modern-day vessel for the belief systems of multicultural Norteño communities. In this exhibition, santeros, santeras, and famed lowrider artists cruise low ’n’ slow side-by-side to make apparent how these two art forms share subject matter and religious function, binding them across past and present people

Lowrider of the Future

The theme of the STEMarts Lowrider Design Challenge is ‘Lowrider of the Future’. Students delved into the history of the lowrider to understand its artistic and cultural significance, as well as the hydraulics and engineering, to inform their designs. At the same time they researched the latest scientific and technological innovations to ask: How might a Lowrider look in the future if they applied these new innovations to a lowrider design? How might it improve its hydraulic system, become more sustainable, change its style? How might these future influences alter the cultural connection of lowrider cars?

Cash prizes will be awarded for Best of Show ($300) and several categories such as Best Traditional Design, and Best Futuristic Design ($100ea). There will also be a Best Teacher Curriculum Integration Award ($150). The Design Criteria below will be used by the Seco Live jurors to select the winners. Stay tuned for the announcement of winners!

Teachers were given access to a comprehensive curriculum tool to help create lesson plans around this activity.

Space Messengers: An immersive and educational sci-art experience

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 and STEMarts Curriculum Tool we collaborate with teachers and 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 text their own space 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 15-17, 2021 for the live projection. Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico for the Global Virtual Reality VR experience.

Contact us if you would like to bring Space Messengers to your festival or event. Next stop…Guadalajara, Mexico + Santa Fe, New Mexico!

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. Special thanks to our educational partners: IPPOG, ATLAS@CERN and Quarknet.

STEMarts Lab Team

Lead Artists: Agnes Chavez, Creative Director/Artist; Markus Dorninger, Projection artist with OMAi team; Roy MacDonald, creative coder; Mattieu Castel, VR designer; David Novack, Sound engineer, with Joao Espadas.

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; Dr. Catarina Pombo Nabais, Philosophy of Science/University of Lisbon; Frank Tavares, NASA Communication Specialist; 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 Elsie Clayton, Taos New Mexico

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.

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.