On Friday, May 22, St. Petersburg College hosted a Zoom video session, Space for Art, with notable SPC alum Nicole Stott. The presentation was organized by Erica Moulton of the SPC Bay Pines STEM Center and the SPC Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL), and it attracted art and science lovers alike. Even Dr. James L. Green, Chief Scientist for NASA since May 2018, popped in for a short time to listen to Stott speak.
Stott is a retired astronaut—she completed two rotations aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during her NASA career—and artist who creatively combines her space flight experiences with art to inspire others. She is also the founder of the Space for Art Foundation, which mission is to “develop, implement and facilitate space-inspired art therapy programs, exhibits, and research.”
Mixing space and art
The online presentation was from the “standpoint of this intersection, science and we’ll use space, and art and this whole kind of really interesting perspective,” Stott explained. Growing up in Florida with her family, she spent a lot of time at the Clearwater Airpark. She shared that her mother was and still is a creative person, even sewing them their clothes, and her father had a love of flying. Stott experienced so many new things growing up because her parents shared what they loved with her.
“It really comes down to the experiences we have, which is why I think this whole science and art, space, and art thing comes together so wonderfully. It is the experience that we share and the way we learn the best,” said Stott.
A lifetime of learning
Throughout the presentation, Stott shared photos from her childhood flying with her father, rocket ships, her NASA crewmates, herself painting aboard the ISS, and images of planet Earth taken from space. Many of the pictures Stott showed were of Florida, Venezuela, and different archipelagoes around the world.
Attendees were also able to hear about Nicole’s experiences with space flight and training to become an astronaut, as well as how important she feels the connection between art and science is.
One of her biggest projects for the Space for Art Foundation has been the Spacesuit Art Project, which she partnered with artist Maria Lanas and spacesuit manufacturer ILC Dover to execute. Stott shared her creative point of view and how she sees the entirety of “Spaceship Earth” as a work of art. She believes that humans are meant to see and discover, and that is her personal connection to the work she is doing now with the Space for Art Foundation.
To learn more about the creative work that Nicole Stott does combining STEM subjects with the creativity of art, visit the Space for Art Foundation website at www.spaceforartfoundation.org.