[Feb 26] Color Light Motion episode 9 with Amir Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer

Episode 9 – The Art of Engineering – will focus on educational programs supported by the David Bermant Foundation. We spotlight Amir Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer who founded the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA).

With special guests artist responders- Agnes Chavez (Santa Fe) who leads STEMarts and author Claudia Schnugg (Austria) who is currently working on a book dealing with STEAM. 

February 26th 2022 at 12:00pm PST // 3:00pm EST

COLOR, LIGHT, MOTION is an online series featuring media artists, scholars and educators in dialogue about artworks from the Bermant Collection of media and kinetic arts.

This series is produced in collaboration with the ArtSci Center at UCLA and the David Bermant Foundation.


Amir Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer are a husband-and-wife team working to transform education. Their particular passion is STEAM education and ensuring that young people are invited – and prepared – to shape these fields in the future. To that end, they founded the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) in 2002. It is a four-year pathway program in a public high school in California that serves over 400 students annually, 50% of whom are young women. In the context of this program, students use specialized technology, tools and equipment to design and create kinetic art. For their capstone project, students create ambitious, interactive, exhibits that have been featured in professional galleries including the San Francisco Exploratorium, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI). 

Currently, Amir and Emily are working to establish a first-of-its-kind Center for Creative Learning on their high school campus. This new facility will house original exhibits designed and fabricated by students in a large gallery, and it will enable a re-envisioning of the way that students’ time during the school day is harnessed for authentic community engagement and contribution. 

Amir graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Education. Before becoming a teacher, Amir was a mechanical engineer working on research and development in academia, the aerospace industry, and the telecommunications industry. Amir was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010, and is the recipient of numerous education awards. 

Emily graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a Master’s degree in Education. She also graduated from UC Irvine with a Master’s degree in English. Emily began teaching in 2001 and has taught Language Arts, Student Leadership, and English as a Second Language in grades 7-12. She works as the Program Director and Development Manager for the DPEA, and is strongly committed to being a change agent in education.

Carousel of Physics Chladni Plate Detail
Infinity Mirror and Enthusiastic Museum Guest

About the Guest Responders

Dr. Claudia Schnugg is a curator of art and science collaboration and a researcher in the intersections of art and aesthetics with science, technology, and organizations.

As social and economic scientist with an additional background in cultural science, her recent work focuses on intertwining artists and art projects with new technologies and scientific research. She has explored effects of artistic interventions on social settings, especially framing artistic interventions and art programs in organizations.

Claudia curates artscience collaborations, artist-in-residence programs, media art projects as well as various projects intertwining art, science, technology, and innovation in business, industry, scientific organizations and cultural organizations. She also holds workshops, runs research projects, and gives talks about developments on the intersection of art, science, technology, and business.

Partners and clients include: Science Gallery International, Institute for Epigenetics and Stem Cells at Helmholtz Center Munich, European Space Agency, Pro Helvetia,  Human Insights Lab at Accenture’s The Dock, Art|Sci Center at UCLA, European Southern Observatory, Fraunhofer Institute of Digital Medicine, Science Gallery Dublin, Science Gallery Venice, Ars Electronica, COS – Challenging Organizations and Society, Re: Foundation, KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd.

Agnes Chavez is an interdisciplinary new media artist and educator whose work integrates art, science and technology as tools to raise awareness to humanitarian and ecological issues. Her installations explore data visualization, light, sound and space to create sensorial experiences that seek balance between science and art, nature and technology.  She is the founder of STEMarts Lab, which designs and delivers sci-art installations and STEAM programming for schools, art/science organizations and festivals.

STEMarts Lab produces the STEMarts Curriculum Tool, an online platform that complements art and science festivals with STEAM teacher resources built around the work of curated artists. She has developed STEAM programs for ATLAS@CERN, Scholastic, 516 Arts, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and for the ISEA2012 electronic arts festival. In 2014 she co-founded The PASEO outdoor participatory art festival in Taos New Mexico, whose mission is to transform community through art and art through community. She developed the SUBE, Language through Art, Music & Games program, now in its 25th year. 


David Bermant Collection in its new home- The Butler Institute
Foundation director Bess Rochlitzer with Executive director of Butler Institute Dr. Louis Zona visited the Butler museum to see how the collection gifted to the museum was installed. She was very pleased with the new home for these historic works!
The David Bermant Foundation: Color, Light, Motion was established in 1986 with the mission to encourage and advocate experimental visual art which draws its form, content and working materials from late twentieth-century technology. The working materials include physical sources of energy, light, and sound. The resulting artworks question and extend the boundaries of the visual arts.  To learn more about The David Bermant Foundation and its collection, visit the foundation website DavidBermantFoundation.org.
The Lasso, Alejandro and Moira Sina, 1997
Thomas Wilfred- “Lumia”
Susan Hopmans feeling the NanoMandala projection on sand by Victoria Vesna at the Bermant Foundation gallery.
Clavilux Junior, First Home Clavilux, Thomas Wilfred, 1930

The collection of 98 works valued at several million dollars includes pieces created by many of the pioneers of technologically based art such as Marcel Duchamp (above image), Nam June Paik, Jenny Holzer, Jean Tinguely, Pol Bury, George Rhoads, John Deandria, James Seawright, and dozens more.
David Bermant was one of the most admired collectors of avant-garde art in the United States. His collection of kinetic art includes works which employ both virtual motion as well as actual motion. Art which utilizes video, holography, magnetism, electronics, robotics, chemistry, and various types of light provide a look into the fourth dimension.
The late David Bermant was born in New York City and grew up in Manhattan. In January of 1941, six months after graduating cum laude from Yale University at age 21, he joined the U.S. Army. He ended his army career as a major of artillery in Patton’s Third Army, earning a bronze star with an oak leaf cluster for his actions. In 1947, he married Ruth Jesephson, and later divorced after 46 years. They had four children: Ann, Jeffrey, Wendy, and Andrew. David then married Susan Hopmans and established homes in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez valley where he created and maintained facilities to house a large and significant art collection. 

David had two great interests: building shopping centers — on the East Coast and in California — and collecting art. Technological art was his favorite because it utilized modern science and technology and was more dynamic than other art that just hung on the wall Bermant felt that such art should be shared in public spaces other than museums and galleries. He established and funded the David W. Bermant Foundation: Color, Light, Motion to ensure the art form most dear to his heart would thrive beyond his lifetime.
Indestructible I, George Rhoads, 1970
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