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Innovation in Art

Inspiring Youth With Inventions, Ideas, Problem-solving

Special to the GPHN

This summer, students ages 7 to 17 gathered in the open studio of the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), where they were introduced to mechanical movements through a STEAM approach to automata and simple machines. They imagined new devices and created 3D models with moving parts, wind and solar power.

The focus of the program was to use a variety of mechanisms and motors in art to create innovative moving or interactive art projects.

Their work will be featured in an upcoming exhibit that focuses on innovation in art with works by DAVA youth solving problems, inventing new devices, and presenting new ideas. Interactive works by guest artists Kat Nechleba and Bryan Leister complete the exhibit, which opens to the public with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and runs through Nov. 15.

The opening will include film screenings, mechanical puppets and robot demonstrations. Downtown Aurora Visual Arts is at 1405 Florence St., one block south of Colfax in the Aurora Cultural Arts District.

Some middle and high school students in the Job Training program created battle-bots while other designed motorized mechanical sculptures and puppets inspired by the works of Nechleba.

For the 9th year, Professor Geoffrey Chadwick from Colorado Film School, Community College of Aurora taught students how to make films. Twenty-four DAVA students with seven other teens from CFS produced more than 14 stories consisting short films, stop-motions, claymations and computer animations. The films will be screened at the opening and on view in the media room for the duration of the exhibit.

Nechleba and Leister, add innovative ways to interact with the public. Nechleba creates mechanical puppets with or without motors. Leister uses hi tech sensors and digital media to give the viewers control of the artwork through body movement.

All of DAVA’s exhibits are free and open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday or by appointment. For more information about the exhibits email

Downtown Aurora Visual Arts is a nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to strengthen the community through the arts with a primary focus on youth engagement. For more information about its programs, visit or call 303 367 5886.

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