I am a visual artist and an educator, based in Seattle. Here are some samples of the work I do:
Seattle Robotic Arts (SRA) is different than most school-based robotics programs in that it is established from an arts perspective. This means that that the group continually works together to creatively define robotics – functionally and conceptually. We do work with traditional electronics tools and components to make simple automatons, but this is not the end goal. We have discussions and the youth make drawings and narratives. Through this, we try to advance ideas of people relating to technology.
Secretly, this is what I’m interested in. I want the youth to think critically about the world around them – to recognize materials in their environment and feel empowered to harvest and use them to create a machine or an image. True, we dismantle a lot of toys in the process, but I feel these toys are best used if they contribute to inspiration and learning.
This past year the youth made drawing machines, obstacle avoiders, sculptural works, robot costumes, and a marginally effective candy poopin’ robot. Yet, they would often return to a dark theme: "We will make the robots that will take over the world. And then we will save the humans from them."
SRA has been working in Seattle public schools such as: Southshore K-8, Pathfinder K-8, Mercer Middle School, and Washington Middle School since 2010. During this period funding has been consistently provided by: the Office of Arts and Culture’s Youth Arts Grant and 4Culture’s individual artist grant, as well as in-kind support from Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Schools.
The Founder and Lead Instructor: Andy Peterson
“As a visual artist, I have a passion for teaching and collaborating. I work to create inclusive opportunities for youth and underserved populations within contemporary art. I received my undergraduate degree in studio art from Seattle Pacific University in 2003, and an MFA from Washington State University in 2008. I have been teaching Drawing and Painting at Seattle Pacific as an adjunct professor since 2008.
My professional work is interdisciplinary, including drawing, painting, machine-building, electronics, video, sound, and community-based projects. My work has been exhibited mostly on the west coast, with local venues including 911 Media Arts, University of Washington, CoCA, Seattle Pacific University, The Henry Art Gallery, and Museum of Art/WSU.”
Andy also teaches robotic arts at The Northwest School, Coyote Central, and the University of Washington’s summer youth program.