Spring Quarter

April 20 – June 29

Summer Quarter

June 29 – August 23

Youth Summer Camps

June 22 – August 7

  • Six 1-week sessions available

2015 Summer Catalog

Download Summer Catalog (PDF 2MB)

Kinetics and Electronics Faculty

The possibilities of integrating movement and sound with artwork are endless – from wind-powered mobiles to motorized robots, art cars, flaming sculptures and more. The Kinetics and Electronics Department focuses on mechanical and electronics-based movement to help you create dynamic and interactive artwork. Whether it is large-scale Rube Goldberg contraptions or tiny robots that literally have minds of their own, these classes will help you take your creations to the next level. Learn about motors, how to program microchips, where to find components, and how to (safely) set your work on fire!

Spring Quarter

Please see the Class Index page here.

Summer Quarter

Introduction to Mechanical Sculpture

Want to make your creations move, or simply curious how movement happens? This course introduces such mechanisms as gears, cams, pulleys and linkages and shows how to create, convert and control movement.

Electromechanics for Everything

Using the simplest of electronic and mechanical components, learn to make things spin, twitch, jump, bend and wiggle. This class covers switches, relays, motors, servos and solenoids, along with some basic analog and digital control circuits.

Arduino Microcontrollers: Building Smart Art

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software, perfect for artists, designers and hobbyists. Using multiple sensors, it can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors and other actuators. Starting with basic electronics and programming, this class will enable you to create your own interactive project.

Flame Effects for Art

Design and build your own safe, effective and beautiful propane flame effect sculpture with propane. You will learn many different ways of manipulating fire in sculpture including accumulator “poofer” effects, fuels, ignitors and electronic controls.

Youth Extreme Gizmos (Ages 8 – 11)

Learn kinetic techniques to design, engineer, and construct a mechanical sculpture, contraption, or gadget with lights and moving parts. Using new and salvaged components, you will learn how motors, lights, and switches work, how to create mechanical structures, how to create different types of motion, and how to incorporate switches to operate your very own fantastical contraption!

Youth Radical Robots (Ages 12 – 17)

Build a simple remote-controlled robot . From the wheels up, you’ll create your robot’s shape and personality from salvaged components, mechanisms, and electrical components. You’ll also learn soldering, mechanical construction techniques, and how to remove and repurpose these items. Each student will receive a kit of motors, wheels, and a remote control toy.

Youth Kinetics Immersion Program (Ages 12 – 17)

Embark on a full week’s study of kinetics, becoming a young artisan by the week’s end with the skills to design and create an independent project. Design and build your own self-navigating robot that will compete in matches of speed and skill.

Future Quarters

Electronics for Artists

Do you dream of building interactive, animated sculpture with sensors, lights, and motors? Get an introduction to basic circuitry and the skills you will need to integrate electronics with your work in this beginner course. You will learn basic electronic theory, schematic reading, use of solderless breadboards for prototyping, and soldering. You will also learn how to scavenge components from old circuitboards, and where to source new parts and supplies. Each student will receive a kit including a solderless breadboard and parts for experimentation.

Getting Started with Arduino

If you dream of building microcontroller-controlled projects, from home-automation systems to tiny robots to large-scale interactive installations, Arduino is the tiny open-source platform for you. In this brief introduction, we will learn how to connect and talk to an Arduino, including setting up and debugging basic circuits and “sketches” (programs). Each student will receive an Arduino starter pack. Bring your own laptop.

Intermediate Mechanics for Artists

Take your mechanical sculpture to the next level by delving into construction techniques, geometry, and problem solving for mechanisms and contraptions of all sorts. We will make gears, learn how to work with four-bar movements, and practice mapping out mechanisms on paper or using computer drafting. We will dissect machines to find out how they work, and build our own using the drill press, bandsaw, and simple hand tools. Work on an organized project, or bring your own design to work on. If you have basic metalworking skills and know a bit about mechanics, and want to get started constructing complex devices with interesting, reliable movements, this class is the place to start.

Handmade Electronic Music & Sound Design

If you’ve ever thought about integrating electronic music or sound art into your work, this course provides an engaging introduction to the craft of making—as well as creatively cannibalizing—electronic circuits for artistic purposes. This guided tour through the world of electronics teaches the inner workings of basic electronic devices so you can use them for your own creative ends. Covering basic electronic principles and practical circuitry from the artist’s point of view, this course will help you transcend any fear of electronic technology and experience the pleasure of working creatively with all kinds of analog circuitry.

Kinetics Immersion Program

Over the course of five days, you will learn theory, principles, and extensive techniques that will give you the necessary skills to work independently. Each day will consist of six hours of instruction with four hours of optional open lab time in the evening, with the exception of Friday which will be a full 8 hour lab day. Lunch and dinner will be provided. Come experience The Crucible in an intense learning program that will foster new skills and develop the artist in you. No experience is necessary to take this class.

Programming Interactive Art & Games With Processing

Get started with programming using Processing, a simple yet powerful graphic programming language targeted to artists and designers. In this hands-on course you will learn programming fundamentals by writing your own programs, from computer games to cutting-edge algorithmic art. Though it is simple to use, Processing is a full-featured language, not a toy: the concepts you will learn (variables, loops, functions and arrays) are fundamental and necessary for programming in any other language. In particular, the popular Arduino hardware platform is based on the Processing language; fundamentals learned in this course translate naturally to Arduino and beyond. A laptop computer is very helpful but not essential.