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Month of Art Programs in June at Science Mill Puts the ‘A’ in STEAM

On Saturday, June 16, A Smith Gallery of Johnson City joins the Science Mill from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to let kids explore the art of cyanotype making.

JOHNSON CITY — What if your children could take some of those old, broken toys that are lying around, gather up a dilapidated VCR, and turn it all into a work of art?

Are you ready? Because they can. It’s all part of the Science Mill celebration of the arts in June. The hands-on science facility in Johnson City is hosting several art programs through June.

The first one is called Trash to Treasure. It’s Saturday, June 2, with sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each last about two hours.

“This is our third, maybe fourth, year we’ve hosted it,” said Holly Barton, the Science Mill director of operations. “McKay Otto, who is a pretty famous artist who lives in Wimberley, teaches the kids about the process of creating art. Kids can bring in anything they have lying around, and we’ll have some things here as well, and McKay will take them through the process of seeing all these things, junk you might say, and how to create art from it.”

Barton said in previous Trash to Treasure workshops, the kids have created some pretty incredible art work.

One of the Science Mill’s missions is to get kids thinking about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (also known as STEM). The mill uses hands-on exhibits and displays as well as special programs to help encourage kids to take an interests in those areas, but what does art have to do with it?

A lot, Barton said.

In fact, many educational programs, such as the Science Mill, now include “art” among the STEM curriculum to make it STEAM.

“We feel that art is a really important piece of that,” Barton said. “An important part of any career, and particularly, those in the (STEM) areas need people with creative problem-solving skills. How do you think out of the box? That’s what art teaches.”

Creative thinking skills are one of the top characteristics business leaders say they look for in prospective employees.Along with benefiting young people’s thinking skills, art is darn right fun. And who wouldn’t want to turn a pile of “trash” into something wonderful?

On Friday, June 8, the Science Mill hosts Solar Art from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

“In Solar Art, kids will use a magnifying glass and the power of the sun to do some woodburning art,” Barton said. “It gives kids the opportunity to use the power of the sun to create art.”

It’s all adult-supervised, she added. The Science Mill will also let kids explore how prisms interact with light, and the staff will hold a shadow experiment on one of the outside walls.

On Saturday, June 16, A Smith Gallery of Johnson City joins the Science Mill from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to let kids explore the art of cyanotype making. Cyanotype is a photographic process in which you create cyan-blue prints.

Then, on Saturday, June 23, from noon to 2:30 p.m., kids can Get on the Right Side (of Your Brain), a workshop led by John Sone and Linda Haddock of Echo Gallery in Johnson City that uses drawing exercises to engage verbal and visual systems. These 30-minute workshops are at noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.

The art programs are free with paid admission to the Science Mill. Some of the activities are limited on space, so it’s best to email to reserve a spot or get more information.

Throughout June, kids can also create bike art. A special bike will be set up in the museum. When kids begin pedaling, the bike turns a piece of paper; then, when they brake, paint is released across the paper, creating art.

The Science Mill is located at 101 S. Lady Bird Lane and open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8.50 for ages 3-18; $10 for adults; $8 for ages 65 and older and military members; and free for ages 2 and younger.

Go to for more information on the art events and the Science Mill’s summer camps.

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