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Introducing: Nexus Design Class

“Contemporary art is no longer confined to the traditional realms of drawing, painting, sculpting, or even photography, and this class explores some of these new realms in art and design through software, hardware and fabrication.” – Mr. Battle and Ms. Williams

If you are interested in 3D printing, laser cutting, and designing, College Prep’s new art class, Nexus: Design, might be a good fit for you! This is the first semester that our school is offering a class that emphasizes the correlations between creativity, design, and technology. Ms. Williams and Mr. Battle decided to create the course after Autodesk generously donated a 3D printer and a laser cutter. “Ms. DeVane presented us with an opportunity to offer a course that utilizes the Xlab as a major component of the curriculum… We were thrilled at the opportunity to offer an art and design course centered around these excellent tools,” say the two.

Mari K. ’15 shows off a sketch of her redesigned Scrabble board game. Photography by Allie N. ’16

This semester, the class is made up of six students who are currently working on redesigning pre-existing game boards. They were instructed to improve a game so that it is more efficient, eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use. Most students started off by drawing basic sketches of their ideas and getting feedback from the teachers and their peers. They are currently working on prototyping their designs in various computer software programs such as SketchUp and Tinkercad. Ms. Williams and Mr. Battle say, “So far, it’s been going wonderfully.  We have a group of thoughtful and dedicated students who are taking the ball and running with it and teaching us plenty as we run this course for the first time! Getting to hear their ideas and brainstorming as a class to think of ways to improve, hack and develop further iterations of each project keeps us on our toes and the students are constantly surprising us with their perspectives.” Ultimately, each student will finish the semester with a finished product: a fully constructed game board, pieces, and original packaging.

One student, Miriam Marks-Peterson (’16) (below) is redesigning the game of battleship, but with the theme of plants and gardening instead of warfare. She says, “Battleship is one of my favorite board games because it’s strategic without getting super complex or boring. I wanted to take that, and put a cuter spin on it, turning it into a game about growing plants. Redesigning the game let me take the fun gameplay and combine it with a subject that I like, making a game that’s perfect for me.” Miriam is a great example of how Nexus: Design is allowing our students to use what has already been created to innovate new products and encouraging creative self-expression.

Junior Miriam M.P. sets up the basic Battleship design to rework. Photography by Allie N. ’16

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