Freshman, Biochemistry major
Paintbrushes and calculators, canvases and research papers collide. Ana McIntosh, an architecture major, stands at the forefront of the scene as she participates in the Creativity in the Arts and Sciences Event (CASE). CASE, organized by the UF Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science for Life Program and the College of the Arts, seeks to bring together STEM majors and Arts majors.
CASE takes participants from six different universities in three states, including Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. Through this event, a team of two students collaborate using their individual specialties and interests. The product they make shows how the arts and sciences intertwine with one another. McIntosh, a freshman in the Honors Program, is currently working with microbiology student Reema Kola to develop an artistic representation of the research Kola performs.
“In my art project, I am taking her research and interpreting that research in a visual form,” explains McIntosh. “When we collaborate, Reema explains what she wants to convey through the artwork and then we discuss the best possible way to show that through both 2D and 3D art.”
After meeting to discuss their ideas, McIntosh illustrated Kola’s research on the immune response using acrylic on canvas for the two-dimensional component of the project. For the three-dimensional component, she used “painted wooden blocks, yarn, and beads.” However, students also have the option to illustrate through performance art and film art. “This project is very different from all other projects I have done in the past,” says McIntosh. “Because it was a collaborative project, there was much communication and analysis before the project even began. In addition, the resulting work of art is more abstract than works I have done in the past.” Such a different project brought with it new challenges. Unlike previous undertakings, this endeavor required McIntosh to translate scientific phenomena into a visual form. As a result, not only did McIntosh have to “fully understand the science behind the research,” but Kola too had to grasp the artistic principles proposed.
“This project challenged me as an artist because I had to create art through a different process,” explains McIntosh. Nevertheless, McIntosh finds that the obstacles presented by the project are surmountable. Furthermore, by connecting with students of entirely different fields, both McIntosh and Kola gained further insight into the other student’s discipline.
“The process of discussing led to learning on both her part and mine. I learned more about science and she learned more about art,” says McIntosh. “Our different backgrounds and perspectives allowed us to see the project from a different perspective and generate a greater variety of ideas.” In this way, McIntosh and Kola both experienced the other’s field in the way CASE intended. Students participating in CASE will present their work January 31st at the Reitz Union. In addition to the arts components, students will display science posters explaining their research in lay terms. First, second, and third place winners will receive prizes ranging from $250 to $1,250. In a world in which the arts and sciences often seem to diverge in different directions, CASE offers an opportunity to show their convergence. Many great works and progress depend on a fusion of the disciplines, rather linearized independence and polarization. Through their collaboration and presentations, though, participants will show from personal experience that science and art intersect not in discord, but in unity and an enhanced experience for everyone involved.