Spotlights & Profiles

Featured Spotlights

Herron announces the Think It Make It Lab, where art, design and technology converge

Jan. 14, 2015

With the aim of merging technology with traditional creative processes, Herron School of Art and Design recently announced The Think It Make It Lab, a new physical space that will help art and design students, and others on the IUPUI campus, become better informed about the broad applications of design, production and fabrication in a variety of fields.

“We are so excited at the prospect of providing a collaborative environment for research and experimentation at the intersection of art, design, technology and culture,” Herron dean Valerie Eickmeier said. “Centers like this are common in Silicon Valley, but there are few housed in schools of art and design and they are scarce in the Midwest.”

Pink 3-D printer monster

Art work from Herron's 2013 Undergraduate Student exhibition, printed with a 3-D printer. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HERRON SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN

Eickmeier said the new lab promotes the creative use of new technologies in a collaborative environment for research and experimentation, and expands Herron’s capability to educate students to work on concept design and prototyping using a variety of digital fabrication methods. She's also looking forward to seeing how the center helps to foster collaborations between programs on the IUPUI campus.

“Herron already has formed solid partnerships on campus with the IU School of Medicine, the Fairbanks School of Public Health, the School of Informatics and Computing and departments such as motorsports engineering," she said. "We look forward to seeing how this lab accelerates exploration and furthers the appreciation of art and design expertise across many types of applications."

Eickmeier said associate vice president for learning technologies at IUPUI, Anastasia "Stacy" Morrone was instrumental in bringing Herron’s vision for the lab to life. 

“This lab will be a new kind of learning space for students, and the first of its kind at IU," Morrone said. "A huge part of IU’s mission, and the mission of UITS, is to provide the technology that our faculty and students need to learn, innovate and discover -- key tenets of the maker culture. We are pleased to have played a part in ensuring that IUPUI students and faculty will have access to these exciting technologies."

Recent additions to Herron’s equipment -- a 3-D scanner, 3-D printers and a computer numeric control router -- started the ball rolling, quickly making a significant impact on the curriculum and training of Herron students.

The lab will add a new design studio with the newest computers, cameras, scanners and printers, adjacent to a digital fabrication lab containing equipment including large-format computer numeric control routers and laser cutters, plasma cutters and milling machines.

Bench detail

Detail from a bench created by then Herron graduate student Vincent Edwards using a CNC router | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HERRON SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN

This combination, housed in Herron’s Eskenazi Hall in close proximity to the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, will accelerate exploration of digital production techniques, rapid prototyping and people-centered design research for undergraduates and graduates alike.

Several schools and programs are expected to benefit from the new lab:

  • The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology on the IUPUI campus already has identified several courses that will benefit from the lab. “It will give students the ability to design for manufacturability, test their prototypes and become familiar with this equipment much earlier in their college careers," Dean David Russomanno said. "The faculty are seeking closer collaboration between research in engineering design and art. Aesthetics play an important role in mechanical design.”
  • The new lab also is expected to serve as a catalyst for visiting artist workshops, regional symposia and community based lectures and demonstrations. Visiting speakers will be chosen from a diverse range of fields including art, architecture, engineering and manufacturing.
  • Herron's Community Learning Programs, which offer educational experiences to the general public, will also use the lab to provide opportunities for teens to have project-based learning experiences in art and technology -- experiences that help make connections to post-high school careers and education.

“The space is under construction now. Faculty are very excited and they are developing curricula for fall,” Herron assistant dean for fiscal and administrative affairs Peggy Frey said. “Some of the courses will be cross-listed with other schools. Additional equipment will begin arriving in January. We anticipate completion of the Think It Make It Lab by the end of the spring semester.”

The initial costs of the Think It Make It Lab are estimated at $1.3 million, and the project is Herron’s highest fundraising priority in 2015.

Read more Featured Spotlights stories »